There is no question of the connection between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, and a good percentage of the population here is Jamaican. Therefore, it just makes sense that each year a celebration is held in Cayman to recognize Jamaica’s independence from Britain on Aug. 6, 1962.

It’s a nice coincidence that this time the date falls on a weekend, so people can really get out and party. You do not have to be Jamaican to join in.

According to the local honorary Jamaican consulate, the aim of the celebrations is to:
— Celebrate Jamaica’s independence in a wholesome family atmosphere Provide quality entertainment for all age groups; and
— Showcase Jamaica’s cultural forms, such as traditional dance, music, speech, craft and food.

Educate others and share Jamaica’s cultural diversity

Promote and highlight the cultural ties between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

The event will be an all-day and night affair on Friday, with various activities taking place at different times.

All events are free.

Day activities

The day activities take place along Cardinall Avenue in George Town beginning at 7 a.m. and running until 3 p.m. There will be food stalls selling traditional Jamaican dishes for breakfast and lunch.

The menus will feature many favorites such as roast yam and saltfish, rundown, jerk chicken and pork, mannish water, ackee and saltfish, chocolate tea, saltfish fritters, rice and peas, blue drawers, and potato and cornmeal pudding. It’s comfort food and then some.

The stalls will be given names of places in Jamaica famous for food, such as Faith’s Pen, Little Ochie, Devon House and Hellshire.

People can enjoy a free drink with their meal, courtesy of Vitamalt.

To add some entertainment to the proceedings, there will be a lunch hour concert featuring local performers from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m., and shoppers can browse the arts and crafts display, or try their luck with the “Wheel of Fortune” contest and giveaways.

Night activities

Night events are scheduled for the Jacques Scott compound from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

It all begins with gospel music performances from Cayman’s finest gospel singers, followed by the Prime Minister of Jamaica’s Independence message, presented by the Honorary Jamaican Consul, along with greetings from the Premier of the Cayman Islands.

The night promises to be chock full of entertainment … and food. The Best Dressed Chicken is sponsoring a jerk competition, and there will be Jamaican food on sale all night.

Music and dancing includes performances by Dance Unlimited, Topaz, Mr. Smooth, Shameka Clarke and local cultural groups. Headliners will be General Trees and Apache Kid and Mad Ants.

General Trees

Born in Drewsland, Kingston, General Trees is widely regarded as the best Jamaican speed rapper of his era. His name was given to him by Barry G, who thought he sounded like “a General with three voices in one.”

His fellow DJ, Lord Sassafrass, was known as “The Horseman.”

General Trees has had a string of hits throughout his career, including “Heel And Toe,” “Monkey And Ape,” “Ghost Rider” and “Crucifixion,” although his best-remembered song is “Mini Bus” – lamenting the demise of the “jolly bus” – which was awarded Song Of The Year in 1986 by the Jamaica Broadcasting Corp. The award raised his profile and he went on to record for a variety of producers in Jamaica.

Further hits followed, with “Gone A Negril” (#2 in 1986) and “Calling All Higglers,” and he contributed to a “clash” album, “Battle Of The Generals,” that featured versions of “Lambada” and “Think Twice.”

In 2005, he recorded some new songs including “Run di Place Again,” “Mother of the Land” and “She Says She Loves Me.” A tour of Europe with the Black Scorpio sound system followed in December 2005. He then began working with the Stur-Gav sound system.

Apache Kid and Mad Ants

The son of the late Apache Chief, one of Jamaica’s top comedians who passed away in 2013, Apache Kid has taken up where his father left off and has continued to entertain audiences all over the world with his new partner, Mad Ants. He is a multi-talented comedian who sings, does impersonations, and perform jokes with great timing and punch lines.