Grand Gala, Gospel Concert, Street Dance for Jamaica…

A festival of celebratory activities has begun to unfurl across the island for Jamaica 60. The western belt will be ablaze with excitement as Jamaicans, under lockdown for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are expected to revel in the festivities.

The historic Sam Sharpe Square, now benefitting from a 30 million dollar upgrade, with its newly rehabilitated fountain, will be one of the venues for celebrations in Western Jamaica.

Mexine Bisasor Bryan, Chairman of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, which is the implementing agency for the Jamaica 60 celebrations, said while funding is limited this year due to COVID -19, the agency has still made it possible for citizens to be active participants in the celebratory activities to be held under the theme ‘Re-igniting a nation for Greatness’.

“We are asking people to come out and support the activities across the region as each parish will host activities in keeping with the theme to celebrate Jamaica 60. Civic ceremonies with flag-raising; will be held in each parish, and activities will then vary. However, the historic Sam Sharpe Square will be the venue for the grand Western Gospel Extravaganza on Saturday, with headliner Jermaine Edwards and then The JCDC, in collaboration with the St. James Municipal Corporation, will present Grand Gala at Harmony Beach Park on Sunday, commencing at 5p.m.” Bisasor-Bryan explained

A special feature of the grand gala will be a 300 Drone show depicting images and messages in line with the theme for Jamaica 60.

Trelawny, however, preempted the other western parishes by opening its series of festivities with the staging of a street dance on Thursday at Duanvale and JCDC Parish Manager for Trelawny, Beverly Edwards Stewart, while echoing similar sentiments to Bisasor-Bryan about limited funding, said though some persons may be disappointed they should still enjoy the activities.

“We will have the independence civic and flag raising ceremony commencing at 9:30 a.m. at Seaforth Street, and then in the evening, we will have Independence street dance at Water Square Falmouth starting at 8p.m Some individuals may express some level of disappointment, as they have become accustomed to a full stage show with grand performances they should still enjoy the street dance.” Hanover, according to JCDC parish Manager Shiyan Williams, will launch its festivities today with a Street Dance at Prospect: “We will follow up with our

Independence Civic Ceremony in the Lucea Square at 9 a.m., a street dance in eastern Hanover at 3 p.m. and then close off proceedings with an independence gala at 8 p.m. at the Bus Park,” she said.

The celebratory activities for Westmoreland will take the form of an Independence Street Dance at Little London Square starting at 8 p.m., and then an independence civic ceremony on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Independence Park, Hendon circle.