Jamaica PM to be guest of honor at independence gala

Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism says Prime Minister Andrew Holness will be the guest of honor at “a prestigious Grand Independence Gala” next month in New York, marking the country’s 55th independence anniversary.

The Ministry of Tourism said on Monday, July 24 that the event takes place on Aug. 26 at the Hilton Hotel’s Grand Ball Room in midtown Manhattan.

“As celebrations throughout the Jamaican Diaspora begin ramping up in observance of Jamaica’s 55th year of independence, the grand finale is set to take place in New York City,” said the ministry in a statement, stating that Grammy Award Winner, Estelle, and actor and singer, Leon, will join the Jamaica Independence Foundation and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) under the distinguished patronage of Jamaica’s Consul General to New York Trudy Deans in hosting the event.

“This year’s celebration is historic, as it is the first time two prime ministers will be attending the New York gala,” the statement added. “Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, ON, MP, will be this year’s guest of honor, while former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Phillip George Seaga, ON, PC, will be recognized for his contribution to Jamaica.”

The Jamaica Ministry of Tourism said Jamaican-American retired Hall of Fame basketball player and current head coach of the Georgetown Hoyas, Patrick Ewing, will also be among this year’s honorees and will be presented with the Son of the Soil Award.

“With the presence of two prime ministers, celebrities and distinguished guests in attendance, this New York gala represents the culmination of our celebration in the Diaspora commemorating Jamaica’s 55thyear of independence,” Deans said. “Jamaicans are a proud people, and this event will represent our collective euphoria surrounding this momentous occasion.”

The Ministry of Tourism said patrons at the Grand Independence Gala will have an opportunity to participate in a silent auction and bid on a myriad of products, including jewelry, fashion, art and vacations.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Jamaica 55 Legacy Project’s Woman, Inc. National Shelter Strategy, for persons impacted by domestic violence, which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in addition to a local charity, the Garvey Elementary Basic School in the Bronx.