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South Florida Diaspora launches “Jamaica 50 Independence Celebrations


An evening of rich Jamaican culture and heritage heralded the announcement of “Jamaica 50 the official launch of preparations for the islands golden jubilee Independence anniversary celebrations to take place across the South Florida communities, on Monday (Aug. 8) at the Miami City Hall.

The ceremonial event was launched by the Hon. Tomas Regalado, Mayor of the City of Miami and Jamaicas Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths among a packed auditorium of nationals and friends of the Jamaican Diaspora, public and civic officials and members of the Diplomatic Corp.

The Consul General announced that plans would now begin for the jubilee celebrations as she introduced the co-chairs for the steering committee for “Jamaica 50 in the South Florida jurisdiction namely, Ms. Pamella Watson, certified public accountant and community activist, and cultural specialist, Mr. Sydney Roberts, Director of Jamaica Awareness, Incorporated.

With the establishment of the committee, Consul General Grant Griffiths also mentioned that a slew of events would begin the calendar which she expects to commence from January through December 2012, and will promote and support Brand Jamaica which she described as “a global brand.

She emphasized that the launch was essential for a programme befitting the celebration of half of century while focusing on the positives and the achievements in our nations history.

While the committee will initiate new projects, the Consul General said that they will work with groups with already established events to create a Jamaica  style while the Consulate will develop a calendar to institute special collaborative ventures. Possible programming for the South Florida Diaspora is expected to include related activities under the following subjects benefit, worship and history. These will be broadened to include education, art and culture, trade and investment

symposium, expositions and festivals, exhibition about Jamaica peregrination, as well as a Diaspora legacy project. Core events will include a benefit gala and the ecumenical worship service.

Mayor Regalado, who described himself as a long time friend of Jamaica, said that his City was pleased to be part of a programme of cultures under the Citys “Bridge to Americas project. Jamaica, he said, had long shared a mutual relationship with the United States and this event was indicative of the continued friendship.

Highlight of the ceremony was the symbolic exchange by the Consul General and the Mayor to further cement the mutual friendship between the Cities of Miami and Kingston as both have shared a lasting relationship as twinned cities under the Miami Dade Sister Cities Program.

The Mayor presented a proclamation to the Consul General heralding the “Jamaica 50 celebration across the Diaspora which he said will be fully supported by the people of Miami.

The Consul General in turn, presented a copy of the original letter incorporating the agreement under the Miami Dade Sister Cities Programme since 1981.

A presentation “Jamaica 50 featuring Jamaicas national plan to earmark activities throughout the year across the island and include the Diaspora, was be presented by Mr. Sydney Bartley, Director of Culture in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

The ceremonial launch also featured an outstanding selection of entertainment performed by local artists. The items included a parade of national colors by the youth group of the Holy Family Episcopal Church, invocation and libation to the ancestors by Dr. Robert and Mena Vassall of Wawa Aba; Echoes of Jamaica by griot, the Reverend Easton Lee accompanied by young violinists duet, the Sons of Mystro; young singing prodigy, Miss Soleil Rowe, as she offered her interpretation of Bob Marley
Natural Mystic; and then the grand finale -journey by drum - performed by percussionist William Stewart and the Tallawah Mento Band.

A Community Reception followed the formal ceremony, to be held on the Mayors Terrace.

The historic launch was supported by several Jamaican-owned agencies including the presenting sponsor Victoria Mutual Building Society Representative Office and included support from Caribbean Logistics; Jamaica National Building Society; Kingston Miami Trading Company; Golden Krust Bakery and Grill; Grace Foods, USA; Jerk Machine Incorporated; Grace Kennedy Money Services; Western Union; Embrace Music/Rhythms of Africa; Jamaica Awareness, Incorporated; Watson & Company, P.A. and The Golding Law Group