It has been five decades since Jamaica attained full independence from the United Kingdom and the Diaspora worldwide is getting ready to celebrate as we head toward the big day itself – on Monday, 6 August.
Of course, as our big brother and neighbour, Jamaica has had an influential role on life in the Cayman Islands over the years, with natives of both countries enjoying the lifestyle and work possibilities engendered by what amounts to a familial relationship. The Cayman Islands therefore is as ready as anybody to celebrate the occasion with Jamaicans living here, their descendents, friends and relatives alike – all keen to showcase the culture, creativity and inventive fun-loving attitudes and foods of the country.
In fact, said celebrations have already started. The National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica came to the Cayman Islands between 24-27 May for a series of special performances at the Harquail Theatre in Grand Cayman in association with our own Kri Performing Arts School. The Jamaican dance company is considered one of Jamaica’s finest and was founded in 1962, so it was extremely apt that the internationally-renowned company came to Cayman to help celebrate the anniversary.
There are also many other events scheduled for the days and weeks from hereon in, of course. Here’s an overview; expect a great deal more information about these events plus other ones that are bound to be announced the closer we get to August.
From 20 July
National Gallery of the Cayman Islands
Jamaican Art Exhibition
Details to follow
Friday, 20 July to Sunday, 22 July
Stella Maris Dance Ensemble
Colourful costumes, innovative performances and intricate dance moves from an ensemble which is much sought-after and has been at the forefront of Caribbean dance for 20 years – and further afield
Friday, 27 July
Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort
Independence Dinner Gala and Ball
Guest speaker is Lisa Hannah and appearances are also scheduled from Marvin Brooks and Karen Smith. Expect delicious Jamaican food and a chance to get dressed up whilst commemorating the occasion.
Saturday, 28 July
More details to be announced; experience the joy of song expressed through the effervescence and the sheer personality of Jamaican history.
Wednesday, 1 August
Books & Books
Culture Evening and Poetry and Book signing
Spend Emancipation Day in the company of Rev. Easton Lee with this historically-significant event which also showcases performance poetry and book excerpts.
Friday, 3 August
Cardinall Avenue, George Town
Jamaica Culture Day
This well-loved annual event features food, music, performances and guest artists and will have an added frisson because of the half-century occasion. Expect other activities too at the Reflections Parking Lot.
Saturday, 4 August
Layman Scott Senior High School, Cayman Brac
No elaboration needed here aside to say – bring an empty stomach and the stamina to try as many different kinds of this awesome dish as you can.
Smith Road Oval
Family Fun Day
This is still in the confirmation stages too but we are anticipating such things as potential cricket matches between invited players representing Jamaica and others; a kids’ area with bouncy castles and more; dominoes; food stalls; loads of fun. This should be quite special, chaps.
Sunday, 5 August
Alexander Hotel, Cayman Brac
Independence 50th Banquet
Another opportunity to get poshy-poshy and sit down to celebrate in a classy way.
All Nations United Pentecostal Church
Ecumenical and Thanksgiving Service
Another one which speaks for itself, this time for the inhabitants of Grand Cayman. Starts at 4pm.
Monday, 6 August
Aston Rutty Civic Centre, Cayman Brac
Independence 50th Anniversary Concert and Service
From 7pm, the important day itself is celebrated in a very appropriate way.
Consulate Office, Dorcy Drive
Flag raising service
Festivities and Olympic Highlights
There will be more details released on these events, plus extra additions, in due course. Rest assured that the Weekender will tell you all about it as soon as we know. If not before. Actually, not before. That makes no sense. Still, all irie. See you soon.