JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaican pride was on full display on August 6 at the National Stadium, as thousands came out, decked in the national colours of black, green and gold, to celebrate the country’s 52nd anniversary of political Independence, at the Grand Gala.
  • From as early as 3:00 p.m. patrons began entering the venue for what promised to be a grand finale to the Emancipation and Independence celebrations.
  • The event dubbed: ‘This is Jamaica: My Jamaica’ got underway at about 6:00 p.m. and ended at sometime after 10: 00 p.m.

Jamaican pride was on full display on August 6 at the National Stadium, as thousands came out, decked in the national colours of black, green and gold, to celebrate the country’s 52nd anniversary of political Independence, at the Grand Gala.

From as early as 3:00 p.m. patrons began entering the venue for what promised to be a grand finale to the Emancipation and Independence celebrations.

The event dubbed: ‘This is Jamaica: My Jamaica’ got underway at about 6:00 p.m. and ended at sometime after 10: 00 p.m. It was a non-stop experience of cultural feastings that transfixed patrons from start to finish.

Among the attendees were: Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen; Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; Opposition Spokesman on Local Government, Desmond McKenzie, who represented the Opposition Leader; Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill; Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites and President of the Senate, Mr. Floyd Morris.

The programme was divided into three segments and began by highlighting the Blue and John Crow Mountains, home to the indigenous Maroons, and which were recently nominated for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Powerful blasts of the native Abeng echoed through the stadium, coupled with singing and drumming from the Maroons.

The 100th anniversary of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), founded by National Hero, Marcus Garvey, was also showcased.

Infused in the UNIA’s observance was the playing of the Association’s anthem and the spoken word by several outstanding Jamaican women, including the 2014 JCDC Festival Queen, Anjell Bryan, who quoted from Garvey’s wealth of black upliftment speeches. A parade of several uniformed groups completed the honour to the world’s oldest black organization.

Musical icons, Marcia Griffiths, Freddie McGregor and the Skatalites were also honoured during the final segment of the show for 50 years of contribution to Jamaican music. The Prime Minister made special presentations to them.

An elated Ms. Griffiths told JIS News that it “feels wonderful to be recognized for work in the Jamaican music industry and that it is her wish for music to  continue to unite Jamaicans as we look to the future.”

Ms. Griffiths and Mr. McGregor serenaded the crowd with timeless hits that had persons, young and old, swaying to the infectious rhythms and harmonies of their songs.

Minister of Youth and Culture, the Hon. Lisa Hanna, said she was very pleased with how the different elements of the show came together and that she hoped Jamaicans left the show with a full appreciation of the culture.

“We wanted persons to understand that August 1 to 6 was a significant time. We wanted them to understand the three milestones that we were celebrating – the 100 years of the UNIA, the 50 years of musical contribution of Freddie McGreggor, Marcia Griffiths and the Skatalites, and how honourable Jamaicans and our history have taken us to where we are in terms of being independent,” she said.

One patron described the experience as “wonderful” and “exciting,” while another said it was “interesting to see the celebration of 50 years of [Jamaican] music.”

There were also performances by Etana, Agent Sasco and Judy Mowatt, who accompanied Ms. Griffiths on several songs. Of keen interest was the addition of a fashion show into the night’s festivities. Clothing from Jamaican designers Barry Moncrieffe, Les Campbell, Lisa MacIntosh and swimwear from Mushroom were on display.

There were more than 2,500 performers on show from communities across Kingston and St. Andrew. The show ended with the much anticipated fireworks.

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