'PROUD and FREE! JAMAICA 53' : Lisa Hanna urges Jamaicans to celebrate in this year's Emancipation and Independence

BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com  Monday, July 27, 2015    
MINISTER of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna yesterday urged Jamaicans to participate in this year's Emancipation and Independence celebrations and to turn a deaf ear to those who are of the view that there is nothing to celebrate.
The minister said that globally people associate the symbol of "Jamaicaness" with excellence, and the country has achieved a lot and should celebrate.
Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna is greeted by
 members of the Mona Preparatory School choir after their
 performance at the National Emancipation and Independence
 Thanksgiving Church Service at St Jago de la Vega
Cathedral yesterday. (PHOTO: MICHAEL GORDON)
"To the rest of the world Jamaica symbolises excellence, [yet locals] often ask why we celebrate, why we spend the kind of money to do it," said Hanna.
"The simple truth is that we want to demonstrate not only to ourselves but to the rest of the world that we are an excellent people and that we have an excellent culture and that it is there within that culture that we must engender and propel excellence to come forward."
She added: "And so we must celebrate and no one must make us feel apologetic for enjoying ourselves because we have a lot to celebrate this year."
Hanna was speaking yesterday during the National Emancipation and Independence Thanksgiving Church Service at St Jago de la Vega Cathedral on Barrett Street, St Catherine, which kick-starts the week of celebrations under the theme, 'Proud and Free! Jamaica 53'.
She cited the selection of the Blue and JohnCrow mountains as a World Heritage Site as a cause for celebration as well as the implementation of several other programmes that have benefited Jamaica socially and economically.
According to Hanna, Government puts aside money every year to ensure that Jamaicans celebrate Emancipation and Independence.
"There is nothing wrong with feeling special and celebrating, nothing at all. There are times when we must de-stress and reflect and this year we have a number of things we can do," she said. more

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