JIS News

Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Vivia Betton has praised Ambassador of Culture, Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou), for her “titanic and enormous contribution” to Jamaica.
“Miss Lou started the movement for a people to communicate to others in their native tongue. She made it fashionable, respectable and acceptable. She gave our patois potency, so that thousands of ordinary Jamaicans could feel confident to speak of their dreams, aspirations, fears and hopes with passion in a language of our own,” she said.
The Consul General’s comments were made at the recently held annual ‘Boonoonoonoos Brunch and Brawta’, organized by the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) in Toronto, Canada.
She said Miss Lou could have lived with the status quo and ignored the national movement which “sought to make our people free in every way.” Instead, the cultural icon contributed to every Jamaican’s “consciousness and the emancipation of our minds, and generations to come owe her a huge debt of gratitude.”
Miss Lou, who has lived in Canada since 1987, was a special guest at the event organized by the largest Jamaican organization in Canada, and held under the patronage of the Consul General.
Each year, ‘celebrities’ from various professions, including law, entertainment, media, business and sports are invited to take part. A celebrity sits at each table and leads the group in answering a wide variety of questions on Jamaica’s history and culture. This being Black History Month, some questions also focused on black history.
Jamaicans were well represented in the list of celebrities who participated. They included Miss Betton; Speaker of the Ontario Legislature, Alvin Curling, the first black to be appointed Speaker in Ontario; former Citizenship Court judge, Pamela Appelt, who was the first black woman to be appointed a Citizenship Court judge in Canada; and Jennifer Holness and David Sutherland, the husband and wife film-making team, whose first feature-length movie, ‘Love, Sex and Eating the Bones’ was voted best Canadian first feature film at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival. The movie is scheduled for general release in March 2004.
Jamaican-born Ashante Infantry, a Reporter with the Toronto Star, and her group did a moving version of Claude McKay’s poem, ‘If We Must Die’. Proceeds from the event will go directly to paying down the mortgage for the building the association acquired in 1996, when it became the first Jamaican group in Canada to own a building of that size.

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