Plans for Jamaica 50 celebration begin

Jamaica’s Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia Babsy Grange.
Photo courtesy of Jamaica Information Service

The planning for the celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence in 2012 has begun with the appointment of the National Planning Committee.

The Jamaican cabinet has approved the membership of the committee, which includes the ministries of culture, tourism and other government bodies, the opposition party, Jamaica’s private sector, youth organizations, religious and civic groups, the Diaspora, sports, entertainment academia and other sectors.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia “Babsy” Grange will chair the committee.

In making the announcement Grange said, “the wide membership reflected the government’s commitment to celebrations that are comprehensive, reflecting all elements of the country’s prowess; inclusive, engaging Jamaicans everywhere and inspirational.”

In executing its mandate to lead the planning and implementation of the celebrations, the committee will be required to “ensure maximum exposure and enhancement of Jamaica’s image across the world.”

According to the minister, “In 2012 the world will feel the full power of the black, green and gold. The celebrations must bring about meaningful change and create opportunities for national development. They must bring us together as one proud Jamaican family spread across the globe. They must help to show the world the positives of Jamaica – the warmth and creativity of our people, the beauty of our island, the vibrance of our culture, the brilliance of our sportspeople. But very importantly too, the Jamaica 50 celebrations must create opportunities for the economic advancement of Jamaicans. That is the challenge for the Committee.”

Although the period of celebration will be from January to December 2012 with activities taking place in Jamaica and its Diaspora, the main celebrations will take place between July and Independence Day, Aug. 6.

Other national events, which are traditionally celebrated during the year will be themed to the celebration. They include: Jamaica Day in schools on the last Friday in February: Jamaica international invitational track meet in May, Worker’s week and Labor Day in May, competitions in the National Festival of the Arts from February to July, National Heritage Week and Heroes’ Day in October, promoters and event organizer’s will be approached to incorporate the theme of Jamaica 50 to their programs for 2012.

The committee is also expected to ensure exposure of Jamaica through the promotion of economic activities in trade fairs, conferences and festivals around the Olympics, especially in London, Birmingham and Manchester.