Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, Olivia Grange is imploring Jamaicans to never take their freedom for granted.
She made the call during the National Independence and Emancipation Day Church Service held at the Boulevard Baptist Church in Kingston over the weekend.
“Our ancestors, against all odds, were able to successfully upend the most horrific system of human trafficking in the history of the world – slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Today, because of them, we celebrate our freedom to be whatever and whoever we want to be.
“If those who colonised us had their way, tomorrow, Monday, August 1, we would not be celebrating our freedom and that is why we must sing our freedom songs and use them to enshrine our freedom in the hearts of our people,” Minister Grange said.
She noted that Jamaicans have a responsibility to the ancestors and generations that follow to ensure that “our people will never be enslaved again”.
“We have a duty, therefore, to build empires and institutions to reflect the legacy handed down to us by our ancestors,” she said, adding that there is much to celebrate in the year of the country’s 60th anniversary.
The church service included bible readings by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader, Mark Golding, while a poem written by Poet Laureate of Jamaica 2021-2024, Olive Senior, for the Jamaica 60 celebrations, was read by Coordinator for National Church Services at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Andrea McCurdy.
The reading took place during a special sand ceremony featuring three persons of different generations pouring sand depicting the colours of the national flag into a vase, which was then presented to Prime Minister Holness and Mr. Golding.
Special musical performances were also presented during the service.
The Government, through the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, hosted the Jamaica 60 Emancipation and Independence church service under the theme: ‘Reigniting a Nation for Greatness with Gratitude, Discipline and Commitment to God’.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen was represented at the service by Custos of Kingston, Steadman Fuller.
Among the guests was Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Geoffrey Onyeama representing President, Muhammadu Buhari.
Also present were Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator, Kamina Johnson Smith; Minister of Transport and Mining, Audley Shaw; Members of Parliament, Anthony Hylton, Dr. Michelle Charles and Robert Miller; members of the diplomatic corps; members of the clergy; members of academia and others.