THE Jamaica 50 Secretariat and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) have recently published details of their programme for the Jamaica Jubilee celebration. Happily, these are much more extensive and diversified than I had expected them to be, given budgetary constraints of the two entities. There is significant integration of the activities being executed by both agencies. While the JCDC is the lead implementer of events around the country, the Jamaica 50 Secretariat has put its main focus on the Jubilee Village headquartered at Independence Park [National Stadium].
The Jamaica 50 Golden Jubilee Village will concentrate its programme during the period August 1-6. The main features include food courts, art and crafts displays, a kiddies village, and commercial stalls, promoting the products of Jamaican enterprises and marketing their merchandise.
The Secretariat is currently in the process of transforming the National Arena into an exhibition hall, which will be called the Jamaica Independence 50 Expo and will include over 200 stalls showcasing the economic, social and artistic achievements of Jamaica over the last 50 years. Patrons will also get their first opportunity to see the nucleus of the new Jamaica Sports Museum, which was first announced by the prime minister in her budget presentation earlier this year.
A major performance stage and the children's village is currently being established in the car park and external spaces along Arthur Wint Drive, as part of a specially designed, temporary major outdoor venue. The programme of activities will commence from 12 noon to 1:00am each day. This includes live Olympic feeds as well as highlights from other celebrations occurring throughout Jamaica and in the diaspora. As is traditional, on Independence Day the National Stadium will be the venue for the Grand Gala, which from all indications will be a three-hour spectacle of music, images and movements by over 2,000 costumed revellers, telling the story of our glorious achievements.
Residents outside of Kingston will be happy to learn that they will have their own dedicated programmes of activities in all the parishes. To begin with, there are over 80 street dances planned for the period. In every major town, there is a diverse list of cultural activities which will be taking place over two consecutive days of August 5 and 6. Through the use of audio- visual equipment and inter-connectivity, 17 of these venues will be fully amalgamated, complemented by large screens and broadcast capability. This will provide every parish with snippets of the highlights of events at the Jubilee Village, the Olympic races as well as sharing the programme content from selected sites with the rest of the locations and bring the excitement in Jamaica to the world.
The general feedback on the ground is that many Jamaicans residing in the diaspora, who watched the last Olympics in America, Britain and Canada, but were dissatisfied with the focus on American athletes versus our own, are coming home to join us in this special period of celebrating our Jubilee and the anticipated successes of our athletes at the London Olympics.