Jamaicans set to celebrate

Jamaicans living in the Cayman Islands are
making the last preparations for their yearly Independence Day celebrations,
which have become a staple in the territory over the decades.

This is the 48th anniversary of Jamaica’s
independence from British rule.

Many in the community are surely brimming
with anticipation for the tastes, smells, sights and sounds that are to come
during the festivities. With several different locations on island serving as venues
for the various fetes, there will likely be enough action for everyone to

One gathering place that has served as a
focus for the celebration over the past three years is Cardinal Avenue, where
hoards of people of all nationalities usually come together to sample the
dishes, craft and different aspects of Jamaican culture.

Organised by ROMA United Foot Ball Club in
association with Triple A Productions, the Cardinal Avenue event this year is
dubbed The Official Jamaican Independence Celebration Under the Distinguished
Patronage of the of the Honorary Jamaican Consulate.

“There will be roasted breadfruit, coconut
drops, grata cake and dukunu/blue draws, potato pudding, ackee and salt fish,
as well as arts and crafts, folk singing 
and dialect poetry,” said Danny Richards, one of the event’s organisers.

Richards said the Cardinal Avenue spectacle
would be another one to remember, as is the aim every year.

There is also a night time celebration
scheduled to take place at Reflections parking lot, off Godfrey Nixon Way.

Richards said the celebration would feature
a jerk festival, sponsored by Grace Foods that would be judged by a panel of
distinguished guests.

“Whatever can be jerked will be jerked,” he
declared, adding that proceeds from the sales would go toward the ROMA soccer
programme, as well as a charity to be chosen by the team at Radio Cayman. To
set the tone for the proceedings, local gospel singers Michelle T and Life Unlimited
are slated to perform. They will be followed by other resident acts, including
the Hype Squad dance group.

A video presentation tribute to Louise
Bennett-Coverley, a popular Jamaican folk hero and cultural icon who passed
away in 2006, will also be on display.

Part of the poet’s legacy is described as
“hitting the truth of her society through its own language,” according to her
official biography, which cited her as an important contributor to the way
Jamaicans think, feel and live.

Another highlight of the evening session
will be a performance by comedic duo Ity and Fancy Cat. The two currently have
a comedy series in Jamaica and are known throughout the region, as well as
internationally, for their antics.

The Trench Town duo have been together,
making crowds laugh near and far for over 10 years now and their infectious
humour has brought them to recent prominence from their self described, “humble
beginnings.” At a time when many of the entertainers’ peers were being led
astray in hopes of a better life, the duo said they found laughter to be the
best way out of their circumstance.

The event does not lack for enthusiasts.
Chris Durant of Real Wood Cabinets said, “I think every year the show gets
better and the organisers have been privileged to always have a great turnout.
This time around promises true family enjoyment.”

Among the festivities on 6 August will be
ska contests and giveaways, according to Richards. “Everything will reflect
that this is a family event and the competitions are for young and old, as well
as prizes- big and small- to be won.”

He added that, as with all official
Jamaican Independence celebrations, Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s message will
be presented. This year the message will be conveyed by Acting Honorary Council
Elaine Harris.

The National Anthems for the Cayman Islands
and Jamaica will be sung to observe the official opening of the nighttime

“It’s Jamaica’s independence, but all can
attend and celebrate with us,” said Mr. Richards, who noted that there is no
entry fee for any of the events.

Apart from the official celebration, there
will be several other parties held around Grand Cayman to mark the 48th year of
our neighbour’s independence. Among others, Welly’s Cool Spot and Mango Tree
are sure to be jam-packed with patrons infused with the spirit of the day.

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