Hanna outlines Emancipation, Independence schedule
Minister of Youth and Culture the Honourable Lisa Hanna has officially launched activities to mark Jamaica's 2015 Emancipation and Independence Day celebrations under the theme 'Proud and Free, Jamaica 53'. The theme and slate of activities were made public on Wednesday morning in a ceremony held at The Pegasus hotel, New Kingston.
The large audience at the Talk of the Town was given a taste of what is to come as finalists in the Festival Song Competition performed parts of their songs. The gathering was also introduced to the finalists in the Festival Queen Competition, as well as the finalists in the Gospel Competition before the minister gave her address.
Hanna outlined the activities for this year's celebrations. They include selection of the winning festival and gospel songs, Mello-Go-Roun', the World Reggae Dance Championships, and selection of the 2015 Festival Queen.
On Saturday, August 1, the country will observe National Jamaica Day with the opening of the Independence Village at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Hope Road, St Andrew. There, booths will showcase the best of Jamaican culture, and the country's creative industries will be highlighted through literary and film festivals. The Independence Village will run from August 1 through to August 6, Independence Day.
In addition to the Independence Village, Hanna also said a section of Hope Road would be transformed into a marketplace for what she described as "bringing 'Corrie' uptown".
This year, August 2 will be designated as Family Day, and the minister encouraged all families islandwide to spend quality time by organising reunions and excursions to various attractions and places of interest such as Port Royal, Hope Gardens, and Devon House. She also encouraged public participation through a wide range of activities, extending to the workplace.
Even the media were included in the list of activities as the minister said there would be a competition where there would be a prize for the media house best displaying the spirit of Independence.
It is not all about Kingston. "We are not leaving out rural Jamaica because the community spirit which it is best known for will once again be rekindled and re-energised as rural Jamaicans will be included in the planning of activities to commemorate the Emancipation and Independence celebrations," Hanna said.
On August 6, the country will stage the annual Grand Gala at the National Stadium. "The Grand Gala event this year will unite the country in one major celebration of our culture," Hanna said.
She was in a reflective mood as she reminisced on Jamaica's development since Independence in 1962. "Look at how far we have come since Independence," Hannah said. "We have proven to the world that we are a nation that can succeed.
"We urge you all to start getting excited, and above all things, let us remain proud as a country and free as a people because certainly, the rest of the world wants to be Jamaican," Hanna said.