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“Emanci-pendence” Celebrations to mark milestones in Jamaica’s history

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July 22, 2013: Minister of Youth and Culture the Hon. Lisa Hanna today announced the celebratory activities for Emancipation and Independence for this year. The activities which will commemorate several important milestones in Jamaica’s history.

These includine the 175th anniversary of Full Freedom from slavery, the 275th anniversary of the Treaty between the Windward Maroons and British, the 75th anniversary of the Labour Movement and  the 50th anniversary of Jamaica festival, will span the period from July 31st- August 6th. The theme of this year’s celebrations is “Celebrating Jamaica: Triumphant, Proud, Free”.

Speaking at the media launch for Emancipation and Independence celebrations 2013 at Jamaica House, Minister Hanna highlighted that this year’s celebration will not only focus on Jamaica’s 51st year of political Independence but will close out the Jamaica 50 year of celebrations. The activities will celebrate the success of several Jamaican icons, institutions and National Heroes and will offer excellent presentations in music,dance, theatre and other key aspects of the Jamaican culture.

“We want to provide rich, wholesome, family-oriented entertainment while offering periods of reflection to all of us who come out to these events.” the Minister added. Speaking of the closing out of Jamaica 50, she said Jamaicans would have the opportunity to secure the last of Jamaica 50 souvenirs and keepsakes.

According to Minister Hanna, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, both agencies of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, will start the weeklong activities with the staging of the Emancipation Jubilee at Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann on the July 31st starting at 4:00 pm.  Vigils will also be held in the various parishes.

Minister Hanna also announced that this year the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre will be the main hub for activities being held from August 1-5, with activities being held at the parish level. The Ranny Williams Centre is set to be transformed into an ‘Independence village’ and will also be the host of the daily discussion sessions, dubbed “Independence Reasonings” which will explore topical issues such as ‘bleaching and the concept of beauty in Jamaica’ and ‘music and our youth’.

In addition to these sessions there will also be the staging of the annual Mello Go Roun’, JCDC’s Most Popular Festival Song Ever Show, the National Festival Queen show, the National Gospel Showcase and the World Reggae Dance competition.  For the Popular Song Contest Jamaicans are being invited to vote for the top 20  festival songs that best depict Jamaica's Independence journey by texting the number code attached to their choice to 444-2407 and by voting online at: www.jcdc.gov.jm. The top 20 selected songs will be performed on the show with an overall winner announced.

The celebrations will conclude with the staging of the Grand Gala at the National Stadium on August 6 starting at 5:00 pm under the theme “Our History, Our Strength”. The grand gala show will portray the excellence of Jamaica’s traditions, creations and achievements and celebrate some of our outstanding icons who have contributed to the development of the nation.

Minister Hanna noted that the Government in general, and specifically, the Ministry of Youth and Culture, recognise the importance of the staging of these cultural and nationalistic celebrations as part of the programme for economic and social restoration and hence, the Government remains committed to ensuring that Jamaicans have cultural outlets for expression, relaxation, contemplation and celebration.