Last week the island nation of Jamaica celebrated two momentous occasions: first, 50 years of Independence from Britain; and second, Jamaican athletes winning gold medals in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. At 8 p.m. on Saturday, both events will be celebrated at Jamaica’s official golden jubilee officiated by The Consul General of Jamaica in Miami, the Honorable Sandra Grant Griffiths, at the J.W. Marriott Marquis, 255 Biscayne Boulevard Way in downtown Miami.
The event is open to the public, and tickets may be purchased by calling 305-957-0433.
The theme of the Gala, “The Journey,” serves to reflect and relive Jamaica’s half century of self-rule and focuses on the positive achievements in the nation’s history. A recent example, the success of Jamaica’s athletes in London, the land of Jamaica’s former colonial master. The event dates overlapped. The Olympics took place July 27 – Aug. 12 and Jamaica’s 50th birthday was Aug. 6.
At the upcoming gala, Jamaicans athletes will be recognized for making an impressive show in London at the 2012 Olympics. Of special interest, Usain Bolt won the 100 meters in Olympic record time confirming his status as the “world’s fastest man.” Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is only the third woman to win back-to-back metres. World champion Yohan Blake and fellow Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown made remarkable showings. All of the performances boosts their nation’s image and should inspire youth throughout the world.
While there is no confirmation that the 2012 Olympians will attend Miami’s Jamaica 50 Gala, it is expected that they will be acknowledged by the masters of ceremonies, the Rev. Dr. Easton Lee and Marie Garth Sharpe. Dignitaries from Jamaica and abroad will be in attendance. Entertainment will feature The Mighty Viking Band and the Alpha Boys Band of Jamaica, with special guest Disc Jockeys.
The honorees, listed on the program as Change-Makers, are mostly Jamaicans and Jamaican-owned businesses who support the economies of the areas in which they are located as well as their homeland, Jamaica. They include: Bevan “Duke” Earle, CEO, The Duke of Earle Group; Wayne C. Golding Sr., principal, The Golding Law Group; Pauline Grant, CEO, Broward Health North Broward Medical Center; Marlon Hill, partner, Delancy Hill LLC; Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness, Broward County Board of Commissioners; Captain Barrington Irving, aviator, Experience Aviator Ltd.; Robin G. Mahfood, CEO, Food for the Poor; Dunbar McFarlane, general manager, National Building Society of Cayman; Florida state Rep. Hazelle P. Rogers, District 94; Robert W. Runche, superintendent of schools, Broward County; Marlene Williams, vice president, XEROX Corp.; Clinton F. Wong, president, Skymark Development Co.. Organizations/Corporate Honorees: Jamaica Nurses Association of Florida; Food for the Poor; and The Gleaner Co.
A tribute will be given to the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, also celebrating 50 years of independence from British rule. In a recent op-ed in the Miami Herald, Half-century of independence, published Monday, Consul General Griffiths discussed the “coming of age of the post-Colonial Caribbean countries.” Beyond celebrations these countries continue developing intergovernmental structure for self-government. In the scheme of things it takes decades and sometimes centuries for governments of new countries to sustain themselves. It appears that Jamaica is making great strides to that end.
As their journey continues, from Miami-Dade to Broward, the local community and economy are enriched with the sports and culture promoted through Jamaica’s national campaign, “A Nation On A Mission.” Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago’s national cricket teams, the Children’s Jamboree, Jerk Festival and One Carnival are some of their numerous events that attract tourists to our region throughout the year.