Celebrating Jamaica Independence

10 July 2013 K2_ITEM_AUTHOR  Jason Walker

This year Jamaica’s 51st year of Independence is coming off of strong and powerful celebrations and moments throughout the Diaspora throughout the Jubilee 50th year. Clearly making 51 on the 6th of August is going to be more subdued than year 50 however still having celebrations around the Jamaica Diaspora. 

Jamaica will have the usual extravagant parties and balls along with street festivals, concerts and Jonkanoo troupes. There will also be fireworks, speeches from some of society’s leaders and church services. In the Diaspora the Jamaica Independence will be marked by balls, church services, concerts and festivals in places such as London, Toronto, New York, Atlanta and South Florida.

 Caribbean today caught up with one of the organizers of the Diaspora events, Atlanta Jamaican President, Errol Ritchie. He started our conversation by sharing his perspective on the previous year, the Jubilee 50th year. Ritchie stated that the year was “very emotional for many.  It forced us to reflect on the past and think of where we are headed. The many events held to celebrate were well attended and generated a sense of community that hopefully, will set the tone going forward.”

For many Jamaicans and even those of Jamaican descent, Independence becomes nostalgic and brings about fond and important memories. Ritchie shared that the memories for him center on “special songs and events, and a show of "oneness"”. The Jamaican communities throughout the Diaspora has been building an enduring legacy of acknowledging Jamaica and Jamaican Independence through various Church services, balls and cultural activities In 2013 Some of these events include of course the services and balls in the different cities, specifically:

  • July 27th Jamaica Grand Independence Ball
  • 7:00 p.m Caribbean Music Festival
  • Hyatt Regency Hotel, Bonaventure
  • 250 Racquet Club Rd., Weston, FL 33326
  • Call: 954-432-6243 or 954-681-1091
  • Aug. 3 Jamaica Independence Ball & Awards Ceremony
  • 7:00 p.m. Consulate General of Jamaica & Jamaica United Relief Assoc. (JURA)
  • “United………The Journey Continues”
  • Signature Grand, 6900 W. State Rd. 84, Davie, FL 33317
  • Call 954-394-2483 or 305-374-8431 ext. 232
  • 7:00 p.m. Jamaica Independence 51 Dinner/Dance
  • Embassy Suites, 1601 Belvedere Rd., WPB, FL 33401
  • 7:00 p.m. Independence Ball – Jamaica 51
  • Jamaica Foundation of Houston
  • Hilton Americas Hotel, Houston
  • Call 832-978-4200
  • Aug. 4 Independence Service of Thanksgiving
  • 10:00 a.m. Grace Episcopal Church 3600 North Australian Avenue, WPB, FL 33407
  • 4:30 p.m. Ecumenical Church Service – Jamaica 51st Anniversary
  • Cooper City Church of God, 9191 Stirling Rd., Cooper City, FL 33328
  • Call 305-374-8431 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • 2-10 p.m. Jamaica Independence & Cultural Celebration
  • Miramar Regional Park, Miramar Parkway, Call NRS (954-251-1643)
  • Aug 10 Atlanta Jamaican Association / AJ Cultural and Education Fund present the Independence Ball and Awards Ceremony, Feat Fab 5 band.
  • Marriot Atlanta Airport Gateway, 2020 Convention Center Conccourse Atlanta Ga 30337
  • Time: 7:00pm. Contact: (404) 556 3773
  • Aug. 12 Catholic Mass – Jamaica’s 51 Anniversary
  • 2:00 p.m. All Saints Catholic Church – 10900 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise 33351
  • Christian Awareness Association, Inc. (954-974-8453)

Mr Richie shared that the Atlanta Jamaican Association worked  in collaboration with other Jamaican organizations in Georgia under the umbrella of the Union of Jamaica Organizations in Atlanta. He also shared what he thought was most important about the legacy of Jamaican Independence, quite simply, “Political and social struggles.” Richie also showcased some important times of Jamaica – Georgia history such as: “the Incarceration of Marcus Garvey, Appointment of the Jamaican Honourary Consul, and elevation of Jamaicans to leadership positions”.

Celebrating Jamaica Independence does not only bring back historical reference it also fosters “family ties, contributions to Jamaicans in need, cultural exchange.” These activities also help to showcase some of the things that Jamaica has brought to the world, such as “Superb intellect and culture, and participation in the growth and development of many countries.”

Richie also believes that this helps to spread important aspects of Jamaican culture such as “strong moral value and sense of family, music, sports and self-confidence.” On the 6th of August 2013, Jamaica will celebrate 51 years of Independence. For such a small and young  country it is interesting that it has made such a big mark on the world stage. Although the celebrations will probably be subdued compared to the year before, they will still be major! Happy. Caribbean Today wishes to share Happy Independence greetings to Jamaica, all Jamaicans, those of Jamaican descent and all honourary Jamaicans.

Jason Walker is a freelance writer for Caribbean Today Magazine who has had an award winning journalism career that spans 20 years. He can be followed on twitter at www.twitter.com/jasonwalker_ or emailed at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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