The Governor-General’s Jamaica 55 Independence Reception held at King’s House, last evening, was a major highlight of national events to commemorate the Emancipendence festivities.
It commenced with the music of a mento band greeting guests upon arrival and a tour of an exhibition mounted by the Institute of Jamaican inside the King’s House Ballroom. This was followed by welcoming remarks from The Governor-General, greetings from the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, and culminated in stellar musical performance from Karen Smith and Ernie Smith.
In his welcoming remarks Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen explained that Cabinet this year replaced the Independence Parade with the Independence Reception and has grafted the activities of the parade, usually held at King’s House, into the Grand Gala activities. His Excellency further thanked the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the State Protocol Office at the Office of the Prime Minister, the Governor General Secretary and staff for making the inaugural event a reality.
“It is our hope that you will this evening, feel the warmth of the ‘heart and soul’ of our people and experience some of the things – foods, music and much more - that make us uniquely Jamaican,” His excellency commented as he acknowledged the Diasporic Jamaicans and visitors in attendance.
“Fifty-five years along this journey of self-government, we continue to ‘press-on’ on with tremendous hope, fixing those things that are wrong and doing what’s right for our country”, Sir Patrick Allen commented before raising a toast to the nation for reaching 55 years of independence.
The inaugural Governor-General’s Independence Reception was attended by former Governor-General Prof. Sir Kenneth Hall and Lady Hall, Former Prime Minister the Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, the Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Members of the Academic Community, several other distinguished individuals, local and overseas-based Jamaicans.