September 27, 2022

Jamaicans In Cayman Islands gear up for Independence Festival

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jamaican-grand-gala_0Jamaicans in the Cayman Islands are gearing up for yet another Independence celebration with all-day festivities on August 5.

The Jamaican Independence celebration is an official event held in George Town, and is held under the patronage of the Jamaican Consulate in Cayman. The event is popular with Jamaicans on the island attracting up to 10,000 patrons each year since it was first held in 2004.

“The celebration also showcases Jamaica’s cultural forms such as traditional dance, music, speech, craft and food,” explained Aldington Stephenson, organizer of the Official Jamaica Independence Celebrations. “The festival seeks to educate and share Jamaica’s cultural diversity and promote and highlight the cultural ties between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands,” he added.

“It has gained in importance as Jamaicans as well as other nationalities on the island look forward to this family event,” explained Aldington Stephenson, organizer of the Official Jamaica Independence Celebrations.

The Independence Day celebration begins at 7:00 am each year and is held on the Friday closest to August 6. The day’s activities features food stalls providing traditional Jamaican dishes for resident and visitors who can visit for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Traditional meals served include: roast yam and salt fish, rundown, jerked chicken and pork, mannish water, ackee and saltfish, hot chocolate, saltfish fritters, rice and peas, as well as potato and cornmeal pudding.

“We don’t just cater only to Jamaicans,” Mr. Stephenson added. “We invite Caymanians to participate and also perform at the entertainment event in the night. This year Filipinos will be participating for the first time, and in the night we have performances from Jamaican acts as well.”

JN Money Services through its JN Money Transfer brand are once again sponsors of the celebrations.

“We took over sponsorship of the event in 2010 and have been involved with it ever since. We are pleased to be a part of the event since it showcases Jamaica’s culture,” said Glenroy Henry, Country Manager, Cayman Islands. “We use the opportunity to promote the brand since all the tents are located along the roadway for people to walk and stop by,” said Mr. Henry.

Simon Brown, who has been working in the Cayman Islands since 2012 looks forward to the event because he says it reminds him of home.

“Since I have been here I have looked forward to this time because I have the opportunity to have food that I would have in Jamaica. I look forward to the mannish water and ‘chocolate tea’ especially because those were dishes I would have on special occasions back home. Being here I don’t always get them so the celebrations allow me to get that piece of home,” he said.

Horace Hines, Acting General Manager of JN Money Services commended the organizers for putting on the event.

“We are happy that Jamaicans are afforded the opportunity to be reminded of home every year through this event. Many work hard and sometimes have nostalgia about home. This is one way to ensure they remember home and we are happy to provide support to the organizers and Jamaicans in Cayman as they celebrate with us,” he said.

Stephenson said this year’s concert will have veteran dancehall artiste General Trees as the main performer and he expects a large turnout.

“The event is free and we are inviting everyone to attend and celebrate 54 years of Independence with us,” he stated.


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