Exciting Global Celebration for Jamaica 50

Preparations are being made for an exciting Jamaica 50 celebration, with the activities earmarked in centralised locations across the world, as Jamaican here and in the Diaspora celebrate the country’s 50th anniversary of independence – its Golden Jubilee. The Jamaica 50 programme is being steered by the Jamaica 50 Secretariat under the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

“The construct of the programme is that it would be celebrated worldwide meaning that there would be various activities taking place worldwide in four geographic zones,” Robert Brian, Project Director for Jamaica 50 tells the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).

In Jamaica, the celebrations will occur at various locations across the country beginning with the Jubilee Village, which will be constructed at the Independence Park Complex, where the key events will take place between August 1 to 6,  Bryan informed.

Celebratory events, also scheduled to take place between August 1 and 6, are being planned for other across the 14 parishes. These include the annual Denbigh Agricultural Show and independence celebrations in Negril, which usually target young persons. 

The Jamaica 50 programme, approved by Cabinet and announced in April by Minister of Youth and Culture, the Hon. Lisa Hanna, will encompass the officially designated period August 1 to 6.

“The idea is to focus most of the celebration activities within that particular period and it is intended that the celebratory year would run from August 1 2012 to August 5, 2013,” Mr. Bryan informs.

United Kingdom

The second platform of the programme will unfold in the United Kingdom and will focus on Jamaica’s presence at the London 2012 Olympics. Activities will be led out of the official Olympic and Jamaica 50 House in the London 02 Arena, which will also house an number of other activities integrated to deliver Jamaica brand presence between July 26 and August 12.

“Jamaica 50 House itself, which is a component of that, would open on August 3, which coincides the start of the Olympic schedule in the Olympics and finish on the 12th, which is the last day of the Olympics,” Mr. Bryan says.

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be held in London from July 27 to August 12, 2012, followed by the 2012 Paralympic Games from August 29 to September 9.

Jamaica 50 celebrations will also take place in Birmingham, England.  Birmingham, which is home to a one of the largest concentration of Jamaicans and descendants of Jamaican parentage living in the UK, come alive with the staging of ‘Jamaica in the Square’ which will take place in the central square in Birmingham between Aug 3 and 12.  Attention will also focus on the annual Brixton Splash, which over the years has been significantly influenced by the Jamaican population that resides there. The celebrations will also include ‘I Love Jamaica Day’, an outdoor event scheduled for August 12 in Stratford Borough, located a few minutes away from the London Arena in the same borough.

“That event itself would be expected to gather some 15,000 to 20,000 people on the 12th and that coincides with the ending of the Olympics,” Mr. Bryan notes.

The various genres of Jamaican music will be featured in concerts to be held during the period. “In Birmingham we expect that a couple of hundred of people will have passed through that experience and in London 02 Arena where live music events will take place daily between July 26 to August 6, which will feature the leading exponents of music that would be performed at that time,” Mr. Bryan explains.

Shoppers will be able to purchase memorabilia and other merchandise related to Jamaica and Jamaica 50 events.  “Jamaica House itself will combine a retail presence, which is intended to have a sale point for Jamaican products and merchandise and a lot of stuff related to the brand and also to deliver an integrated brand experience that would also be able to show the various components of brand Jamaica, covering the trade elements, the tourism the cultural and other elements of the very strong band that is known as Jamaica,” Mr. Bryan notes.

United States and Canada

The third key area where Jamaica 50 activities will be staged will be in the United. “Within the US the focus would be on the tri-state area and Washington Atlanta and the southern side, which would cover Miami and the southern side of the US and the aim here again, is to develop specific locations – we are presently focussed on getting that nailed down.”

The fourth main area for Jamaica 50 celebrations is Canada. According to Mr. Bryan, the programme of activities in Canada is well organised, “because Canada has quite a bit of organised groups that have focussed themselves on facilitating activities on celebrating Jamaica 50”.

Explaining further, Mr Bryan said within the celebration period there will be a focus on activities that would be specifically designated to celebrate Jamaica 50th. This will reach a crescendo between August 5 and August 6 with the highlight being a special two-way broadcast between Jamaica and London.

He underscored that the purpose of the broadcast went beyond the mere showing of the events, but was aimed at ultimately concentrating all our energies on and to witness and celebrate that moment of Jamaica’s great achievement, while beginning to shape the country’s future.

Mr. Bryan explains the importance of using the opportunity to leverage the brand by “utilising the platform that is presented by combining Jamaica 50 celebrations with the uniqueness of the London 2012 experience, [taking advantage of] the fact that Jamaica brand is expected to be the dominant story within that world event.”

He says that the plan is to infuse pre-recorded content in the form of vignettes, short features and interviews that would communicate the breadth of the Jamaica brand and would tell the story of Jamaica.  This includes a view of “the past, some of the history, the anecdotal evidence which when put together through the global media platform will be able to communicate to the rest of the world and what Jamaica is and hopefully will instil pride and engender confidence and hope in the younger generation as it is.”

Outlining the details of the broadcast, Mr. Bryan explains, “The idea here is that between London time, which is six hours ahead of Jamaica (8pm London time) on the 5th to 8pm on the 6th, the objective is to try and facilitate a specially produced made for television product that would connect all the activities and centres … and to be able to beam back and forth from these areas that will connect essentially the large centres and gatherings of Jamaicans across the world.”

“The idea here is to invite Jamaicans to gather in these locations on the 5th to witness the next great moment of the country’s history which is winning the Olympics 100 metre men’s finals and also whatever else comes with that anticipation is that we probably have the ability to come in 1, 2, and 3.  To then focus on the countdown to Jamaica’s 50th birthday and to usher in the actual Independence Day,” he continues.

“Obviously the time zones matter because at that point in time, at the ending of that particular event in London, they would hit August 6 within two hours of the event. Jamaica would hit August 6 six hours behind that and the US and Canada I believe would be anything between six or five hours,” Mr. Bryan effuses.

Key Events

DATE               EVENT                                                                                    

August 1-5       OPENING OF JA50  JUBILEE VILLAGE

August 1-5       Jamaica50 Independence Exposition

August 1          Augus Fair  & Reggae Night

August 2          Mello Go Roun

August 3          Independence Nostalgia

August 4          World Reggae Dance Festival

August 5          Jamaica Praise

August 5          Independence Street Parade

August 6          Independence Grand Gala

See the full Jamaica 50 calendar at:

http://www.jis.gov.jm/ja50/v2/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Jamaica-50-Calendar-of-Celebratory-Events.pdf