‘Christopher Columbus is a damn blasted liar…’ the crystal clear sound of the unmistakable Burning Spear resonates through the built in speakers at the Council house with stalwarts such as Marley, Isaacs and a wealth of renowned reggae artists, welcoming guests to Jamaica’s 50th Independence launch.
We arrive to rum punch, ginger beer, wine and sorrel generously doused with….yes you guessed it rum!
The Deputy High Commissioner Mrs Joan Edwards, having missed her train from London to Nottingham has the proceedings running behind schedule… but it wouldn’t have been an authentic Jamaican event without the obligatory late start!
After a reshuffling of chairs, best suits and dresses straightened, the ceremony begins with a welcome from the Master of Ceremony Mr Eddy Maxwell MBE followed promptly by blessings from Reverend Stapleton. A brief welcome from the new Sheriff of Nottingham Merlita Brian follows soon after.
Councillor Eunice Campbell sets the tone by giving an overview of the achievements and accomplishments of Jamaicans in the Diaspora over the last 50 years… names such as Len Garrison, Eric Ions and Tony Robinson, who served three terms as Sheriff of Nottingham, adorn the airwaves, along with Merlita Brian the first black female sheriff of Nottingham.
A poetry reading from Rosey Thomas Palmer author of Hues of Blackness a Jamaican Saga,leads us into an interval and the banquet begins…
…fried fish, dumplings, plantains, curry pasta, salt fish fritters, chicken, spiced rice, bun, fruit salad and cake as well as…a selection of Jamaican patties… and then more rum punch and ginger beer and sorrel, yes you guessed it laced with rum… hiccup!!!
Bellies full, guest once again seated, the passionate Pitman Browne, renowned author, entertains the audience combining his unique blend of humour and gritty reality in a poem about sugar. An impromptu public announcement almost causes a flurry of embarrassment but renegades are suitably quelled to make way for the heart warming commentary from the Deputy High Commissioner, Mrs Edwards.
She is followed by an energetic presentation from Sasha Monique-Henry (JDUK PRO). She highlights the events nationally including Jamaican Diaspora day!?Didn’t know we had one???!!!
Jamaican Diaspora day happens every year on the 16th June, we were informed. It’s now safely tucked away in our diaries.
The events ran smoothly although there was an obvious absence of the third generation, shouldn’t we be passing something on to them?
A selection of photos from the event to whet your appetite for the forthcoming frolics and fun as we all look back over the last 50 years.
We at NBA will be celebrating too with our film showing on the 30th May at ACNA where we will also be launching the start of a new project. We will also be holding an event on the 17th October at Nottingham Playhouse and co-ordinating entries to an anthology marking 50 years of Jamaican Independence… stay tuned for more posts on this.