Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer
Portland celebrates Independence at Long Bay
LONG BAY, Portland:
HUNDREDS OF residents from communities across Portland decked out in their Jamaican colours and streamed into the annual Independence gala at Long Bay on Monday.
Long Bay beach, renowned for choppy waters and best utilised by international surfers, was transformed into an entertainment spot as community persons danced and dined away on its white sand beach. It was a carnival like atmosphere, as various food, including roast fish, grilled lobster, curried goat, jerked chicken, manish water, rice and peas, roast breadfruit and fried salt fish, were devoured at an alarming pace.
Big turnout despite conditions
The residents, who were in a celebratory mood danced the day away on the more than 800 metres of white sand beach with traditional music from Love Stone sound system.
"The turnout is encouraging," said Sylvia McKenzie, one of the organisers of the parish's Independence gala.
"Last year's turnout was big, but with Sunday's inclement weather, which was compounded by the threat of Tropical Storm Ernesto, a lot of persons stayed away. Today (Monday), two communities, Long Bay and Castle, are competing for a first prize of $25,000 for the winner of the best float."
After more than four hours of parading, Castle emerged as the winner, while Long Bay received $15,000 for its effort.
Earlier, the spotlight was on Port Antonio where the traditional Independence parade took centre stage. Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force engaged in marching and drills. Not to be left out were the parish's firefighters, who also put on a show for the large crowd.