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50th anniversary shame

Published:Monday | June 25, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Olivia 'Babsy' Grange
Lisa Hanna

The Soloist, Contributor

I had plans to be in London with my family this summer for the Olympics, but shelved them when I realised it would mean missing Jamaica's 50th anniversary celebrations at home. I doubt I will be around to see Jamaica mark another 50 years of independence.

But now I am starting to regret my decision. With the controversy over which song is official (or not), I have to stop myself from throwing up. I have also come to the conclusion that politicians only care about their personal egos and legacy.

Picture this: With just over a year before the big event, the last administration starts putting the plans in place for the celebration. From what we have heard, so far, the present administration found those plans useless and replaced them with something that is at best, harum-scarum. But, although no budget was allocated and nothing was signed off officially, the basic idea/plan seemed to have germinated last year ... including a song! There was enough for the new government to build on without all this fuss.

To date, as far as I can see, there is nothing anticipatory in the air, no vibe, just anxiety, Trinidad, which is also 50 come August, will have a fabulous soca-song celebration and Jamaica might just end up the laughing stock of the Caribbean because two women are doing their best at what women are stereotyped for - bickering!

Waste of money

Yes folks, Lisa and Babsie refuse to sing from the same song sheet. And now we are going to have to waste money voting to see which song we all should sing. Why was there not a national 50th anniversary song contest in the first place? At this point, we should be hearing the song so often, we would all have learnt it by heart. The August 6 hype should be at a high, now; instead, we have a two-woman contender match. Jamaica loses to politics again!

Now, with just over 40 days before the big birthday bash, the only thing that seems to be going right for my island's celebration is the highly anticipated Military Tattoo. Perhaps that is so because the politicians are not the ones driving it. I don't give a darn about the political party problems; who gets to cut the cake, blow out the candles or pay for the party. I just want an unforgettable 50th birthday celebrations! So can we cut the catfight and get on with it?

Preparation time

Start cleaning drains, bushing roadsides, whitewashing stones and giving every public square a facelift. Let the black, green and gold decorate every building high and low. Start revving the engines to take busloads of uniform-clad children to all parish capitals for a grand renewal of their pledge to Jamaica.

Stock the shelves with commemorative items to mark the event! I still have my green and my dad's gold Independence Cup from August 6, 1962. Right about now, we should have been selling a large inventory of August 6, 2012 memorabilia to inject some life into our comatose economy rather than a bag of hogwash and excuses for the grand flip-flop and shameful behaviour over a song and celebrations gone sour!

As for the melody of one song, if people from countries that don't speak a word of English (or patois), are coming here to buy a reggae track, why the hell is it not good enough for our 50th anniversary song? Do we have to carry our love for all things foreign even into our own national celebrations?

You politicians are behaving like children who need 50 knuckles in your thick skulls to teach you to put Jamaica 50 first! Let us all get along!

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