Jamaican Embassy in Washington staging major independence celebration this weekend

JIS- The Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, D.C. is in the final stages of preparation for what may be one of the most significant slate of activities, in commemoration of Jamaica’s independence in recent memory.

The events which have been dubbed as “A Capital Celebration of Jamaica’s 43rd”, will be staged over a two-day period and will have major entertainment as well as religious and cultural components, all designed to showcase the island in the American capital.

Ambassador Gordon Shirley described the activities as “a celebration of Jamaica in the capital of the United States which will showcase Jamaica at it’s best. Our enormous creativity and talent and the zest and energy that characterizes our nation, has significant contributed to the affinity that so many Americans feel for our country,” he said.

Ambassador Shirley noted that the planned activities were designed to further acquaint Washingtonians with “brand Jamaica” and to allow Jamaicans, both young and old, and the Washington community at large, to come together in a festive circumstance in celebration of Jamaica’s independence.

The series of events will involve a “Jamaica Night” at one of Washington’s landmark entertainment facilities, Zanzibar-on-the-Waterfront, which is co-owned by a consortium of Jamaican business interests in the Washington area. This event, which will be staged on Saturday, August 6th, will feature the popular Jamaican band, Bare Essentials and will include a reception which will be hosted by Ambassador Shirley and the staff of the Embassy of Jamaica.

On Sunday, August 7th, the day’s calendar will feature a range of activities which will be preceded by a Service of Thanksgiving conducted by the Lord Bishop of Jamaica, the Rev. Alfred Reid. The service will entail a celebration of Jamaica’s rich religious traditions and will be highlighted by liturgical performances drawn from the island’s culture. Also on Saturday night, the Jamaica Nationals Association and the Jamaican Association of Maryland will host their annual independence balls under the distinguished patronage of the Hon. K.D. Knight, Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Ambassador Shirley respectively.

The hallmark activity of the weekend, which will close the festivities, will be the staging of a traditional Jamaican “Sunday Market” event on the grounds of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Sunday afternoon, which is being billed by the Embassy as “An All-Jamaican Outdoor Festival of Fun.”

This event will feature a broad array of Jamaican music, food and entertainment and will be headlined by the Third World Band, with the Bare Essentials and noted Jamaican musicologist Dermott Hussey of XM Satellite Radio providing additional offerings. In addition, Things Jamaican will also have on display a wide variety of products which will be available for purchase.

The Embassy will also mount, in collaboration with the OAS’ Museum of the Americas, an exhibition of the works of noted Jamaican artist, Albert Huie, which will be drawn principally from its permanent collection.

In addition to the traditional Washington community, the Embassy will seek to draw on Washington’s diverse international and political community with the local diplomat corps and officials from the international financial organizations, such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, U.S. government agencies and the U.S. Congress, being a central part of this year’s celebration.

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