Independence Day fete ‘irie’

Cayman’s 2010 Jamaican Independence
Day celebrations kicked off in fine style last Friday with food aplenty and a
cultural showcase of music, dance and comedy. It was more than ‘irie’,
according to the crowd.

The festivities started at 7am in
Cardinall Avenue, which was open only to pedestrians until 4pm. The crowds,
keen on savouring all things Jamaican, were treated to a plentiful supply of
breakfast options. Five stalls, including ones from the Breadfruit Tree and
Island Vibe Restaurant, served up hot and flavourful portions of ackee and
saltfish, roast breadfruit, calalloo, corn pork, and green bananas, washed down
with chocolate tea and free coconut water courtesy of Grace.

The crowd were kept entertained
with a constant stream of traditional dancing viewed on a large screen showing
the highlights of Jamaica’s Festival Competition, which showcased the cream of
the island nation’s culture. Among the dances shown were renditions of the quadrille,
dinkimini, bruckings and kuminia. Ska and rock steady hits of the ‘60s and
‘70s, as well as past Festival song winners filled the air, much to the crowds’
delight.

At 11am the next wave of visitors
were treated to lunchtime offerings of jerk chicken and pork, roasted saltfish,
steamed fish, curry goat, rundown, mannish water and roasted yam. Several
visitors took the opportunity to stock up and bought two separate portions for
friends and colleagues.

Jamaican participant Donovan Nelson
said, “The atmosphere on Cardinall Avenue was Jamaican-style in the way people
related to each other… It was good to see people from other nationalities
there, too, which really created that variety which shows appreciation for all
that Jamaica and Jamaican culture has to offer.”

By mid-afternoon the Jamaican
Independence Day celebrations had moved to its second location – the
Reflections parking lot off Godfrey Nixon Way. Food was served from 6pm and the
stalls did brisk business, no doubt buoyed by the after- work rush for
something hot and tasty.

A free one-hour gospel concert at
9pm, featuring the likes of Michelle T and Life Unlimited, preceded the
official opening of the evening celebrations with the singing of the Jamaican
national anthem and the Cayman national song.

The Jamaican prime minister’s
Independence Day message was read by the Jamaican Vice-Consul in the Cayman
Islands, Elaine Harris.

The evening’s festivities then
launched into high gear with a reggae performance by Caymanian singer Jigz and
a lively choreographed set by the Hype Squad Dancers.

Many of the younger visitors had
come specifically to hear and see Rik Rok of Shaggy Fame. The singer performed
a couple of songs, including his smash hit It Wasn’t Me. The song, a cheater’s
charter, was sung along with by many in attendance who took the lyrics in good
humour.

The main act, Ity and Fancy Cat
took to the stage next and gave a scorching 45-minute stand-up routine, which
had the audience roaring with laughter.

“All in all it was a wonderful
family event. Everyone who came out to enjoy themselves and give thanks seemed
to have a brilliant time,” said attendee Banny Stephenson.

FEATindependencedaySTORY

Jerk chicken and pork were particular favourites at Cayman’s annual Jamaican In-dependence Day celebrations.
Photo: Jewel Levy
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