On the eve of Emancipation Day, Aug. 1, diasporan Jamaicans packed into Union United Methodist Church in Brooklyn to give thanks for five decades and four years that the island / nation has endured, persevered and independently governed a population that for centuries relied on colonials to rule and dictate everything from lifestyle to survival.
Held under the auspices of the Jamaica Consulate, the thanksgiving service introduced acting Consul General Derron McCreath to nationals who had not met the diplomat since he assumed the temporary position when Herman B. Lamont tendered his resignation after the election of Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
In the presence of City Councilman Matthieu Eugene and Assemblyman Nick Perry, he read a list of elected officials who he said were present but in fact were not.
His message to nationals was “let’s get together and feel alright,” the theme of this year’s anniversary celebrations.
“From uptown and downtown and Maroon Town we are all Jamaicans and must be part of the solution” to move Jamaica forward.
His brief statement preceded a video message from the prime minister.
“The diaspora must play a role in hastening the progress of Jamaica as we continue our journey.”
“Let’s get together.”
Throughout the video message, images of technological advances and manufacturing production shifted the focus from a talking head to visual evidence of a country on the move.
Jamaicans celebrate Emancipation Day on Aug. 1 and each year, independence from Britain marks a Aug. 6 holiday.
On the island, both dates merge for a week-long regalia known as Emancipendence.
“We have much to celebrate this emancipation and independence, our rich culture continues to be of great influence. The black, green and gold in our national flag define who we are as a nation and a people and we must showcase that this season,” Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport said.
She called on all store owners and operators of public and private sector entities to decorate their windows, business places and town centers in the national colors of black, green and gold in an effort to depict the ‘spirit of emancipendence.’
“It is still important for individuals to decorate their surroundings with the national colors, creating an environment which illustrates that we are all proud to be Jamaicans,” the culture minister added.
She punctuated her statement adding that the nation should incorporate the spirit reggae singer Bob Marley repeated in his “One Love” hit —‘Let’s Get Together and Feel Alright.’
Grange said his message is a call for unity and togetherness.
The Emancipendence broadcast here by PM Holness was followed by renditions of folksongs and prayerful worship.
Taking a page from the US political campaign message from the GOP candidate, Rev. Calvin McIntyre said “No one can say make Jamaica great again, it’s already great and beautiful.”
A flag-raising ceremony will be held on Independence Day, Aug. 6 at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall.
From Aug. 1-6, several fun and exciting activities will be held throughout the day and night in Jamaica culminating with a Grand Gala event on Independence Day at the National Stadium. The Kingston event will feature a display of “Saga Boy” and “Tan Tan” a carnival creation by renowned Trinidad & Tobago artist Peter Minshall.
A flag-raising ceremony will begin here at noon at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall.