The Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann’s Bay came alive with the sounds and sights of traditional folk forms on Friday (July 31), as thousands of Jamaicans and visitors turned out to support the internationally acclaimed Emancipation Jubilee.
The event, organised by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), sought to bring greater awareness and acceptance, both locally and globally, to the historical struggles of Jamaicans.
Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding and his specially invited guest, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, were among the large crowd at the function.
Mr. Golding, in his remarks, urged Jamaicans not to carry their past like a log on their shoulders which burdens them, but to stand up as proud people, facing the future and all the challenges that it offers.
“We gather in a spirit of renewal, because slaves we were, but free men we are today. It is a time like now that we must recall the strength, the courage and the fortitude that our forefathers demonstrated to withstand those many years of bondage and oppression, and we must call on that strength, because we need that strength to take us through the challenges that we will have to overcome,” Mr. Golding said.
President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, greets Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange on his arrival at the Emancipation Jubilee at Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann on Friday (July 31).
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, said that she was proud to be associated with the event.
“I urge all Jamaicans to celebrate with us, as we continue to recognise the struggles of our ancestors, as we forge together forward as an emancipated independent Jamaica,” Minister Grange said.
It was evident that the event was greatly appreciated by the thousands who flocked the grounds of Seville Heritage Park.
Patricia Smith, from Falmouth in Trelawny, told JIS News that Emancipation Jubilee was an event that she has looked forward to attending every year, since its inception in 1997.
“I have learnt a lot over the years that I have been coming here and, since it started in 1997, I have never missed a year. It is something that I look forward to every year. The history, the information that you get, is just overwhelming,” she said.
Performers re-enact the days of slavery at the Emancipation Jubilee at the Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann, held under the theme ‘Echoes Of The Past.’
She said that the event gives her a chance to reconnect with her past, and to think about where Jamaicans are coming from and where they are now, as a people.
“And I feel proud,” Miss Smith added.
George Williams, from Seville Heights in St. Ann, said that Emancipation Jubilee was a wonderful experience, especially for young Jamaicans.
“Over the years I have seen the attendance grow, and I think it has reached tremendous proportions now. I think that it is something that we need to encourage and advertise, as much as possible, to get others to be aware of what their cultural existence has been over the years,” Mr. Williams told JIS News.