The Full Story
Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay came alive with the colours and sounds of Jamaica on Sunday (August 7), for the first-ever staging of the Grand Gala in the western end of the island.
The spectacular event was in celebration of the country’s 60th year of Independence, under the theme ‘Reigniting a Nation for Greatness’.
It was a patriotic display as flag-waving Jamaicans who were decked in the national colours enjoyed the cultural package, which featured performances of popular and traditional music, song and dance.
Like the grand gala held on Independence Day (August 6) in Kingston, the Montego Bay event was highlighted by a stunning 300- drone display, which lit up the sky with formations of the national coat of arms, the national fruit (ackee), the national bird (hummingbird), the map of Jamaica, sprint icon Usain Bolt, cultural icon Louise Bennett Coverley, and reggae icon Bob Marley.
The gala was preceded by a Jamaica 60 Western float and street parade, beginning at the Sangster International Airport roundabout then making its way along Godfrey Dyer Boulevard on to Jimmy Cliff Boulevard, culminating at Harmony Beach Park.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon Andrew Holness, who participated in the activities, said he was pleased to see the pride that Montego Bay has placed on civic celebrations.
“I’m very happy to see the civic energy in Montego Bay, and I want to commend the municipal authority, members of parliament and churches that have played an integral role in this,” he said.
“Montego Bay is growing and developing its own way of doing things that we must pay special attention to the events and the happenings in Montego Bay. So, I’m here to associate myself with Montego Bay’s own celebration and to associate myself with the growing energy and developing culture of Montego Bay,” he added.
Prime Minister Holness said it is likely that Harmony Beach Park will now be “the backdrop on which Montego Bay will have its own local Grand Gala celebration” and commended members of the public for taking care of the facility, which was opened for use in May 2021.
“I can imagine in years to come that this celebration of your city, but also of your country, can grow even bigger and, dare I say, may rival the celebrations in Kingston,” Prime Minister Holness noted.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon Olivia Grange, who participated in the festivities, said that the Jamaica 60 celebrations will continue for the entire year.
“There are lots of things to come. In October… we are going to have a whole lot of great things happening in Heritage Week.
“We will be recognising 60 outstanding Jamaican women, 60 outstanding Jamaican men. We are going to be celebrating Marcus Garvey, our first national hero, and we are going to be having one of the biggest revival competitions,” she informed.