Statement by the Hon. Lisa Hanna MP, Minister of Youth and Culture on Emancipation/Independence 2013

Story Highlights

  • The celebration of Independence 2013 commemorates some very important milestones in our country’s history
  • We are now formally closing out Jamaica 50 Celebrations
  • The theme for this year’s celebrations is Celebrating Jamaica: Triumphant, Proud, Free

Rationale for the 2013 Emancipation/Independence Celebrations
1. The celebration of Independence 2013 commemorates some very important milestones in our country’s history, which have all been taken into consideration in the planning and implementation of this year’s celebrations.

2. Among these milestones are:
The 275th anniversary of the Treaty between the Windward Maroons and the British that established the first community of black free people in the Western Hemisphere The 175th anniversary of Full Freedom in 1838 The 75th anniversary of the Labour Movement arising from the labour uprising of 1938 The 50th anniversary of the JCDC, our flagship cultural agency that has over the period of our Independence been tasked with the planning and implementation of these celebrations.

3. Additionally, last year in our celebration of Jamaica 50, we stated that Jamaica 50 would run from Independence 2012 to Independence 2013. This means that we are now formally closing out Jamaica 50 Celebrations even as we celebrate Jamaica 51.

4. Finally, and also importantly, we also remind our people of the importance of staging these activities, within a framework of fiscal responsibility, even during moments of austerity. These celebratory activities are vital because of the role of culture in empowering the spirit of the nation during these times. In this regard, our focus on cultural expression provides opportunities for the engagement of our creative imagination in finding solutions.

5. The theme for this year’s celebrations is Celebrating Jamaica: Triumphant, Proud, Free.

6. While this year’s celebrations will not be anything near the scope of last year’s Jamaica 50 Jubilee, we will be staging events that reflect the high standard and authentic nature of our culture.

Objectives of the Celebrations

7. The following are the objectives of the celebrations: To culminate Jamaica 50 celebrations To commemorate Jamaica’s 51st year of political independence To offer excellent presentations in music, dance, theatre and visual arts by Jamaican artists To be a meaningful and fulfilling opportunity for the celebration of Jamaican identity and culture To recognize and celebrate the success of specific Jamaican icons, institutions and National Heroes To be youth-relevant and exciting in design, execution and style, referencing modern and contemporary theatre in the use of technology, animation, television, audiovisual display, lighting, scripting and new media To provide rich, wholesome, family-oriented entertainment while offering opportunities for reflection and discussion. To provide Jamaicans with the opportunity to collect final Jamaica 50 mementos, souvenirs and keepsakes.

The Celebrations

8. The plan is to focus on the principal celebratory period July 31 to August 6.

9. The period is then broken into three parts, as follows: Emancipation (July 31 – August 1) August 1 – 5 August 6.

10. Activities will be staged at the national level with Kingston & St. Andrew as the hub; and activities will also be held in all parishes.

11. The Ministry of Youth and Culture and the JCDC will co-partner in the staging of these activities and with the JNHT for the major Emancipation celebration.

12. All the August 1 – 5 events will be staged at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre.

July 31 – August 1

13. Emancipation Jubilee (Seville Heritage Park, St. Ann) – Spearheaded by the JNHT with JCDC support, this is the premier activity of Emancipation Day and represents the foremost celebration of Full Freedom. This year, the event is dedicated to celebrating our roots, traditions and heritage.

The night will feature traditional groups in performance (Port Morant Kumina, Revivalists, Maroons, Queen Ifrica, Tony Rebel, as well as readings, reflections, statements and enactments. Activities begin at 4.00pm and end at 6.00am.

14. Parish Vigils – Each Parish will stage a Vigil at a significant space in commemoration of Full Freedom.

August 1 – 5

August 1
15. Mello Go Roun (Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre) – This exciting annual family entertainment is greatly anticipated by the public each year. The show begins at 8.00pm.

August 2
16. Most Popular Festival Song Ever Show – This year we celebrate the Journey of the first Fifty Years of our Independence. We decided this year to invite the public to select the top 20 Festival Songs of the period, which in their opinion best depicts Jamaica’s Independence Journey.

17. The public is invited to choose from among the 47 songs by texting as many times as they wish to 444-2407 and online at www.jcdc.gov.jm. Each Festival Song has been given a number which is being advertised. Text that number and we will use the votes to identify the top twenty songs. Texting will end on August 1.

18. The top twenty songs will be performed on the night of the show by various artists and the overall winner will be announced in the Show.

19. The Show will be nostalgic as we showcase the different musical creations of each decade.

August 3
20. National Festival Queen Show (Ranny Williams) – This show will start at 8.00pm.

August 4
21. National Independence Thanksgiving Service –at the Bethel Baptist Church starting at 10.15 am.

22. National Gospel Song Showcase (Ranny Williams) –starting at 7.00pm.

August 5
23. World Reggae Dance (Ranny Williams). This show starts at 8.00p and this year features groups from Japan and Guadeloupe.

Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre
24. The Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre will be transformed into an Independence Village. The Village will open each day at 12.00 with booths and stalls for display and sale of craft, art, and other memorabilia.
Independence Reasonings

25. Like the Jubilee Village last year, this year we will be staging at Ranny Williams afternoon reasonings on a variety of topics, providing an opportunity for reflection and discussion, targeting the youth.

August 6 – Independence Day
26. Under the theme “Our History, Our Strength”, the Grand Gala at the National Stadium will portray the excellence of Jamaica’s traditions, creations and achievements and celebrate some of our outstanding icons who have contributed to the development of the nation.

Segment 1 – Creation of the nation; Segment 2 – Political identity and self government
Segment 3 – Our Land our Choices; Segment 4 – Vision 2062 “In Your Hands”

Conclusion
27. The Government in general and specifically, the Ministry of Youth and Culture, recognize the importance of staging these celebrations as part of the programme for economic and social restoration. It has been manifested time and time again that we are at our best when we celebrate the achievements of our nation.

28. The Government is aware of the economic challenges we are facing as a country and, as such, the Emancipation and Independence 2013 activities will be held in the context of fiscal responsibility, prudence and ensuring that they are executed within budget.

29. We are mindful however, that in special periods of challenges we remain committed to ensuring that our people have cultural outlets for expression, relaxation, contemplation and celebration.

30. In the celebrations we are giving special focus to our young people as we continue to use culture to promote a revolution in how we treat each other; how we work as a people; how we view ourselves and our country; and how we see ourselves as committed citizens to the cause of national development.

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