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Thousands of Jamaicans and visitors to the island turned out for the staging of the National Emancipation Vigil and Jubilee Celebrations, which was recently held on the grounds of the Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann’s Bay.
The event, which was a collaborative effort of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), saw the bumper crowd being entertained by various cultural groups, dance troops, gospel and reggae artistes throughout the night of July 31 and into the morning of August 1.
Among the many officials present at the event were Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Aloun Assamba, and the Chairman of JNHT and the Jamaica National Bicentenary Committee, Professor Verene Shepherd.
“What we celebrate here tonight and into the morning is not some new form of apartheid reveling in the exclusive black club and nursing resentment to all others. It is a celebration of the beautiful diversity that we have woven from over three centuries of adversity,” Mrs. Assamba said, while addressing the event.
The merging of the traditional National Emancipation Vigil with the Jubilee Celebrations, she said, resulted from a decision taken to underline the importance of unity in celebrating Jamaica’s common heritage.
“This year we have too many gains to celebrate to be modest with the effort. We need to go full hundred. This is the year of Jubilee but let us be careful not to forget that our freedom is within ourselves. So let us claim this freedom in our walk, talk and most importantly in the way that we treat each other, with respect, tolerance and love every single day of our lives,” the Culture Minister stated.