Jamaicans in Washington, DC turn out in large numbers to celebrate Jamaica’s 54 years of independence
By Derrick Scott
Washington, DC – The Dumbarton chapel at Howard University School of Law was packed to capacity as Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica turned out in large numbers for the service of thanksgiving in celebration of Jamaica’s 54th year of independence.
The annual church service which is a calendar event of the Jamaican embassy was attended by a capacity audience which included members of the Jamaican community in Washington, Baltimore, Delaware, Richmond Virginia and New York.
Also in attendance were members of the Diplomatic corps, a strong contingent of CARICOM ambassadors as well as representatives from international organizations in Washington.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Andrew Holness in his message read by Charge d’Affairs at the Embassy of Jamaica, Mrs. Marsha Coore Lobban said that Jamaicans are a people of distinction with an illustrious history. “Imagine a country with a population of approximately 2.8 million people can have the fastest man and woman in the world, and produce an artist – Bob Marley, whose single “One Love” the BCC designated theme of the millennium and whose album “Exodus”, Time Magazine voted album of the century, is indeed thrilling.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Jamaica has produced the world’s famous Blue Mountain coffee and given the world the all-inclusive concept and have produced world-class scientists, entrepreneurs and statesmen. In spite all of these achievements we are yet to maximize our full potential. This must be the mission of this generation. Independence is as good a time as any to soberly reflect on our 54 years as a nation in making an objective assessment. It must be admitted that there is a sense among our people, especially our young people that we have underperformed. Prime Minister Holness pointed out that among our primary deficits is our failure in the post-independence era to grow our economy on any sustained basis.
Mr. Holness said we have had spurts of economic growth only to be followed by long periods of economic decline. “We must begin to reverse that and normalize economic growth and prosperity which must be the commitment of this generation”, he said.
In delivering the sermon, Professor of Theology of Howard University School of Divinity, Rev. Cannon Kortright Davis said “Jamaica as a treasure must constantly transcend itself. Jamaica as a treasure must be that nation, shining way in the distance of our noblest vision, our deepest values, and our most fervent vitality” The Rev. Davis said Jamaica must constitute that ideal form of social, cultural, religious, political, and personal existence, which day by day strives to become a true reality, and a living and contagiously exemplary experience. Cannon Davis added that Jamaica must become the place where the face of God, the mind of Christ and the Spirit of Justice, Truth, and Love will surely there be found.
In a proclamation read by Minister Council at the embassy of Jamaica Mrs Ariel Bowen on behalf of the Mayor of Washington DC Muriel Bowser, August 6 was declared Jamaica’s Independence Day in Washington DC. According to Mayor Bowser, Washington DC is proud that numerous Jamaicans call the city home. The diverse culture of immigrants has played an important role in our city and we applaud the Jamaican community for the contribution they continue to make in building our city and congratulate all Jamaicans on their 54 years of independence.
Lessons were read by Jamaica’s permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), Mrs Julia Hyatt, Diaspora North-East board member Miss. Joan Pinnock, President of the Jamaica Association of Maryland (JAM), Rev. Noel Godfrey and Mr. Jordan Bowen representing the young in the Diaspora.
The service was officiated by Jamaican theologian and dean at the School of Divinity of Howard University, Dr. Bertram Melbourne, while musical selections were rendered by the ”Performing Arts Under the Lord”, violinist Erin Stewart along with the “EBC Praise Group”. This year’s offertory will benefit the Wortley Home in Kingston. Following the church service a reception was hosted by the embassy of Jamaica