Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson is encouraging Jamaicans to participate in activities planned in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Jamaica, which is part of the Commonwealth, has been involved in activities by the United Kingdom (UK) to mark the Diamond Jubilee, with His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales having visited the island from March 5 to 8, where he took part in various activities.
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A committee, headed by the Governor General's Secretary and comprising representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister; the Ministry of Youth and Culture; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; the Ministry of Health; and the Jamaica Defence Force, has been established to plan the celebratory events.
Speaking with JIS News, Minister Nicholson said that it was important for Jamaica to abide by its constitutional arrangements, "regardless of what they are at any point in time."
"Even though we say in due course we wish to move away from the Monarchy, our constitutional arrangements say that Her Majesty the Queen is the head of state, represented in Jamaica by the Governor General,” the Minister said.
He noted that the laws that are passed in Parliament are passed in the name of Her Majesty the Queen. Further, he stated, that criminal cases that go before the court are “The Queen versus whoever it is”.
"So it is very important that you abide by your constitutional arrangements, whatever they are,” he emphasised.
Among the celebrations is the lighting of some four beacons in Kingston and St. Andrew and the three counties of Jamaica, Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey, on Monday, June 4 beginning at 10:00 p.m.
Minister Nicholson said lighting ceremonies will be held at the St. William Grant Park in Downtown, Kingston; the Montego Bay Civic Centre in Montego Bay; the Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann’s Bay, and at the Port Antonio town centre in Portland.
"These lightening ceremonies will take place simultaneously at 10:00 o’clock and they will remain lit, operated by gas or kerosene for 24 hours,” Minister informed, noting that a similar lighting ceremony will take place in the United Kingdom, where Her Majesty will light the national beacon.
The arrangements for the ceremonies will be undertaken by the Custodies while the Mayors will deliver the welcome addresses.
On Sunday, June 10, there will be a thanksgiving church service at the St. Andrew Parish Church starting at 10:30 a.m. A Diamond Jubilee Prayer, which was written at the Queen’s direction and submitted to the Governor General, will be read at the service. Plans for this service are still underway, according to Minister Nicholson.
Later this year, commemorative Diamond Jubilee Medals will also be issued to members of the armed forces, emergency services, prison service personnel, and emergency health services.
There are also plans to have an exhibition spearheaded by the Institute of Jamaica and a newspaper supplement highlighting the activities in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee as well as provide a historical review of Her Majesty’s reign.
By Elain Reckford, JIS Reporter