Jamaicans kicks off ‘Diamond Anniversary’ of Independence

Come August 6, Jamaica will mark the 60th anniversary of its independence from Britain.

Olivia Grange and Edmund Bartlett

But Jamaicans in Toronto have already started celebrating the “diamond anniversary.”

Two Saturdays ago, more than a hundred Jamaicans attended a lavish gala at the Grand Bizarre to launch the celebrations.

Michael Thompson, deputy mayor of Toronto, greeting fellow Jamaicans at the gala, said “Jamaican Canadians are fully committed to Canada.

“But  we are forever maintaining our lasting love for our homeland and we have an abundance of pride in our independence.”

“It is my hope that as our native land celebrates its 60th anniversary, it will be filled with harmony and joy,” said Thompson.  

Addressing the gala, Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism minister, noted the establishment of the partnership between George Brown College and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), based at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

(On March 25 last – the day before the gala – a  Memorandum of Understanding  (MOU) was signed establishing the partnership.

Signing the MOU on behalf of George Brown College was Dr. Gervan Fearon, president of the college, while Bartlett signed on behalf of the GTRCMC.

A key element of the partnership  is the establishment  of “a satellite centre ” at George Brown College.

The centre will focus on research and development, policy advocacy and communication management program and project design and management and training and capacity building.)

Bartlett, co chairman of the GTRCMC, told fellow Jamaicans that tourism is susceptible to disruption but in the last 50 years, “ this industry has grown faster than any other industry despite four Mega disruptions.”

He also told the gathering that a book was conceptualized by the GTRCMC “ based on our experience  in managing the COVID-19 pandemic through various projects and partners around the world.”

The thirteen contributions to this work “emanate from a diverse group of scholars, policymakers, hoteliers, industry leaders, and heads of tourism agencies.”

The book is intended to provide “a deeper understanding of resilience building and sustainability In tourism.”

Among those present at the gala were Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minster of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Sharon Miller, High Commissioner for Jamaica in Canada, Lincoln Downer, Consul General for Jamaica in Toronto and Angella Bennett, Regional Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board.

The GTRCMC was established in 2018 by the Jamaican tourism minister and Dr. Taleb Rafai, Former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, as a global think tank that focuses exclusively on building resilience and managing crises that disrupt tourism.