Residents of Montego Bay and adjoining communities in St. James were treated to the country’s rich cultural heritage, as the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), in collaboration with the Parish Council, officially launched its celebration for ‘Jamaica 50 – St. James’, on June 26, under the national theme: ‘A Nation on a Mission’.
The ceremony, which showcased Jamaica’s music, dance, traditional foods, art and craft, was held at the Old Hospital Park in Montego Bay.
Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St. James Parish Council, Glendon Harris, told the large gathering that they must show love for their country, through positive actions that will spur growth and development.
“In Jamaica, our National Heroes were patriots, not only for their display of dedication to our nation, but because of the love they possessed for their country and the respect they had for life. We are the patriots of today. We must continue to aspire towards attaining objectives that will strengthen our nation, so we too can compete internationally, effectively propelling Jamaica to higher heights,” the Mayor said.
He encouraged the residents to see national development, civic pride and citizen participation as practical measures to “utilise and accomplish the status gained by even First World nations."
“As we endeavour to work together towards a common goal, let our belief in Jamaica guide us throughout the challenging times. Let us hail our ancestors who sacrificed their lives, so we can enjoy the benefits of an independent nation,” Mayor Harris said.
Meanwhile, Custos of St. James, Hon. Ewen Corrodus, urged the citizens across Jamaica to, in the midst of the celebrations, focus on building the nation.
“I am urging every citizen to participate in the ‘fixing process,’ as there is no lack of talent in Jamaica, there is no lack of intellect, there is no lack of skills and there is no lack of human resource,” he said.
For his part, Principal Director of Culture in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Sydney Bartley, pointed out that the triumphant movement of the Jamaican people is the main focus of the Jamaica 50 celebrations.
“There is no other country of our size, in the history of the world, that can match us for the influence that we have had on the world, and that’s something we must celebrate. Let us unite and build this country that has been handed down to us by our ancestors. Let us not let the blood and sweat and tears of our ancestors be given in vain,” Mr. Bartley emphasised.
By Glenis A. Rose, JIS Reporter