Jamaicans preparing for big 50th birthday party



Next year’s Jamaican independence celebrations in Toronto will be big and broad, promises Consul General George Ramocan.

The country’s top diplomat in the city made the pledge while giving a sneak preview of some of the events that will take place to mark the golden jubilee landmark at last Saturday’s 49th anniversary gala at the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) centre.

“If you think the celebration you are having here tonight is really big and wonderful, wait until next year comes around,” said Ramocan. “It’s going to be one of the great celebrations that Jamaicans will have right here in Toronto.”

Ramocan said several legacy experiences are being developed to observe the milestone. They include a commemorative coffee table book that will highlight Jamaicans who have made significant contributions in Canada and a Future Leaders Institution that will provide leadership training and preparation for the “now generation” to succeed current leaders.

A 50th independence anniversary planning committee was established last February. The committee’s goal is to appraise program proposals and review appropriateness for the final roster of celebratory activities that will define the 2012 anniversary program.

“We were the first team to get off the ground,” said a proud Ramocan. “Here in Canada, a great team has been leading the way and giving momentum to this event which promises to positively impact Jamaica’s economy. Jamaica Homecoming is more than a celebration. Through its fundraising efforts, it aims to impact the advancement of early childhood education in Jamaica as one of its legacies.”

One of the highlights of the 2012 Jamaican anniversary program will be a year-long Homecoming celebration. This national campaign encourages Jamaicans in the Diaspora and friends of Jamaica to visit the country which gained independence on August 6, 1962.

Ramocan expects about four million visitors, the majority of them Jamaicans living in the Diaspora, to visit the country next year.

A Grand Jamaica Homecoming Movement was launched in Toronto two weeks ago at four events. The buzz began at the annual St. George’s College Summer Ball where Come Home Jamaica, an original song composed and sung by the Fab Five band’s musical director, Asley “Grub” Cooper, was unveiled.

Nearly 20,000 people erupted into a frenzy when Ramocan introduced the song, a compilation of sweet rhythms and lyrics utilizing several genres indigenous to Jamaica, at the Jambana festival at Downsview Park on the Simcoe Day civic holiday.

“There is no better way for Jamaicans and friends of Jamaicans overseas to celebrate Jamaica’s 50th year of independence than to visit the island-home to reconnect with friends and family and to experience the world-renowned culture and cuisine of their homeland,” Ramocan added.

The 50th independence anniversary ball takes place on August 11, 2012 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

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