Wed | Aug 10, 2022

Treasure Beach gala, national honour for Gayle Independence Day

Published:Friday | August 5, 2022 | 12:08 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Chris Gayle will be recognised at the country’s Independence Grand Gala on Saturday.
Chris Gayle will be recognised at the country’s Independence Grand Gala on Saturday.

A boat parade, a street parade and a sports festival are all part of the offering on Independence Day as Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth launches its grand celebration of Jamaica 60 in its own unique way. And chief cook and bottle washer is none other than Chris Gayle, aka Universe Boss.

Gayle, as expected, is particularly excited about the celebrity cricket match, which the flier boasts “features Chris Gayle Universe Boss vs Treasure Beach All Stars”, but, with this game, he is seeing beyond the horizon straight into sports tourism. The superstar batsman, who is now also a reggae artiste, and has racked up millions in streams and views online – visited 10 Downing Street in England last month and hobnobbed with former prime minister, Boris Johnson, and cabinet minister, Nigel Adams. He said at the time that the talk was mainly about cricket.

“We confirmed Chadwick Walton and Jerome Taylor [and are] still in talks with a few more players. This will be the third time that the House of Lords and Commons [from Britain] will be visiting Treasure Beach to play a charity match. Sports tourism is something that Treasure Beach is very strategic about,” Gayle explained.

The Universe Boss has a special affinity for Treasure Beach and its people, and that prompted him to get fully involved in this Independence celebration that will see fishermen carrying Jamaica flags across the bay on Saturday.

“Treasure Beach is a fishing village, and we wanted to honour this tradition, so the fishermen agreed to [carry] 60 flags across along the coast past all the districts of Billy’s Bay, Frenchman’s Bay, Calabash Bay, Old Wharf and Great Bay. All these districts make up the community of Treasure Beach. We are expecting 30 boats,” an enthusiastic Gayle explained.

On land, the energetic Newell High School marching band, led by Mr Forbes, who has been their instructor for the past five years, will dress up in their costumes and take the parade from Calabash Bay to the sports park. Other activities for the day include football, netball, zipline and bounce-about. With Gayle involved, an after-party is a no-brainer, and the entertainer, who is featured on the compilation album, Tropical House Cruises to Jamaica: Asian Edition, will take the action to Jack Sprat in Treasure Beach in the night.

Gayle, the minister of culture told The Gleaner last Monday, will be recognised at the country’s Independence Grand Gala on Saturday.

“We will also be honouring Chris Gayle as our sports icon, and that will be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, which will, at that point, indicate to Chris Gayle that he will be made a tourism ambassador for sports,” Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange said.

Gayle is one of four players who scored two triple centuries in Test cricket and one of the most well-known sportsmen in Asia. Musically, he has also shown his strength with a collab with Indian rapper Emiway Bantai, titled Jamaica to India, which has racked up more than 56 million views on YouTube.

“Chris Gayle is certainly a huge asset to Jamaica, and a central figure in the engagement of Asians, particularly Indians,” Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett told JIS News.

In response to being honoured at the Independence Gala, Gayle told The Gleaner, “It’s important to be part of history. Jamaica is one of the most iconic [countries] in the world ... to celebrate our 60th and to be honoured as well is priceless! I have played my part within this 60 years of Independence for Jamaica over the years by representing my country proudly, always keep the flag flying high wherever I travel in the world and bringing lots of people to my Jamaica.”

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com