Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the rich history of the nation will be showcased come 2012, as Jamaica marks 50 years as an independent nation.
Speaking at the media launch of Jamaica 50 anniversary celebrations on Thursday evening (October 20) on the lawns of Jamaica House, the Minister, who is chairman of the planning committee, said that the occasion will be used to highlight the achievements of Jamaicans in sports, the arts, academia, entertainment, among other areas, and inspire others to excel.
“Jamaica 50 will celebrate our nation building experience. The celebrations will highlight the positiveness of Jamaica, the warmth and creativity of our island and the vibrancy of our culture as well as the brilliance and talents of our people,” she stated.
The yearlong celebrations get underway on January 1, and run throughout the year. The private sector and the Diaspora are expected to play a major role in the planning of the various activities, which include a number of legacy projects.
Mrs. Grange said many of the calendar events will be organised around the celebration, and various ministries will be undertaking special activities, with the Ministry of Education to engage students in the planting of one million trees.
The Ministry of Agriculture will organise events to further promote food security, while the Ministry of Tourism will stage several overseas activities to promote the Jamaica Brand, and maximize returns from the London 2012 Olympics. Key among these will be a 50th anniversary party at the Museum of London, which houses a number of Caribbean artefacts.
The Jamaica Defence Force will be staging a four-day international military festival (called a military tattoo) from June 28 to July 4 featuring massed pipes and drums; mounted and motorcycle displays; engineering corps and air wing expertise; international military dances, and ceremonial drills. More than 450 local and international military practitioners are expected to attend.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in his remarks, urged the overseas nationals to come home for the celebrations and join in the planning process.
He said that as the country goes into celebration mode, “we must also reflect on how we have done as a nation since independence. We must decide and figure out how we can continue to tap into our potential. Vision 2030 outlines a road map of where we want to go and how we will get there, and I believe tourism can help us to get there”.
For his part, Chairman of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) Policy Committee, Earl Jarrett, pledged his organisation’s full commitment to the process.
“We acknowledge that business success cannot be sustainable without a solid partnership between our public and private sectors, as well as between Jamaicans here and abroad and it is with that awareness that many firms have committed to support the activities to celebrate our Independence, and foster Jamaica’s trade initiatives and promote our athletes during the period of London 2012 Olympics,” he stated.
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