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Portalnd schools to benefit from Independence event

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2016 | 12:00 AMGareth Davis

LONG BAY, Portland:

Four schools are to benefit from proceeds of this year's staging of a grand gala held on Independence Day in Long Bay, Portland, which, from all indication, was a huge success.

Held on the white sand beach at Long Bay, the event attracted thousands of residents, who converged on the grounds amid the humid condition, with a warm sea breeze blowing across the length and breadth of the rural landscape, while the sound system Caveman international provided entertainment - playing a variety of past Festival songs, disco, reggae and calypso music.

With a low turnout during the daytime, chairman of the Long Bay Citizens' Association, Errol Hanna, had a worried look on his face as the association's desire to assist four schools - Rural Hill, Seaview, Windsor Forest, and Fair Prospect basic schools - with proceeds from the gate, seemed unlikely.

I must admit that I was very worried. We had gone ahead to make our pledges known publicly and irrespective of the turnout, we had to honour our commitment. I then said to myself, the hours between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. are going to be the determining factor as to whether or not the gala will be a success. But by 7 p.m. Saturday, we were provided with a glimmer of hope as there was an influx at the gate," he added.


The place was set on musical fire when reggae artiste George Nooks hit the stage at 8:45 p.m., belting out hits after hits, including How Great Thou Art, God is Standing By, No Power on Earth, Zion Gate, Hero and Homely Girl in a performance that lasted for approximately half an hour. But even when he exited the stage, patrons begged for more, and his return was even more scintillating.

The excitement further exploded when Tommy Lee hit the stage shortly after 11 p.m., having been warned by organisers to keep it clean. Lee's performance was one of simply class, as he miraculously managed to keep it clean while captivating the audience.

Hanna said: "I have to thank all the sponsors, including Rainforest, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, Louie McLaren, and Members of Parliament Daryl Vaz and Lynvale Bloomfield. Without their input, the gala would have been a miserable failure. And as promised, all four schools will benefit through a monetary contribution, which will be disbursed in short order."