July 23, 2023

Flag of Jamaica

Flag of Jamaica

Jamaica Celebrates Independence, August 6, 2023

By Joy Osiagwu

Jamaica is a nation in the Caribbean Island famous for its music, beautiful beaches, and expression of self-identity through music. Black nationalists like Marcus Garvey and the legendary Bob Marley continuously draw attention to the island nation, with indigenes proud of their cultural heritage.

The native Taino were the area’s first inhabitants before the Spanish occupation in the early 16th century. However, the British took over in 1655 and established a plantation business, exploiting the system of its cocoa, sugar, and coffee. The nation gained independence on August 6, 1962.

 Jamaica is also known as the island of “Rastafarianism”, a religious movement that has become a household name worldwide with ties to Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. Tourists regularly travel to Montego Bay to enjoy the breathtaking resorts and to visit the capital city, Kingston, and the Bob Marley Museum. 

The nation has a population of 2.828 million, and the languages spoken are English and Jamaican Patois.

Breathtaking resort in Jamaica Photo: Negril

Current Governance structure

Jamaica practices parliamentary democracy with King Charles III as the chief of state represented by the Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen. At the same time, the head of government who assumed office in March 2016 is the Prime Minister, Andrew Holness. 

Prime Minister, Andrew Holness. Photo: Office of the PM

The legislative arm has a Senate and a House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the Jamaican government announced a plan in May 2023 to transition to a republic and to have a referendum in 2024 to either stay as a commonwealth or transit to a republic.

Iconic Jamaicans

Three global icons have their origins from Jamaica. Ultra nationalist and political activist Marcus Garvey, late Reggae super star Bob Marley, and multiple world track record holder Usain Bolt have written their legacies in a manner unequalled anywhere on the planet.

Marcus Garvey Photo: Wikipedia
Bob Marley Photo: Wikipedia
Usain Bolt Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF

Trending News

Jamaican Dance Hall famous artiste Damian Morgan also known as “Keywee”, is in the news, given a loud ovation from his fans in recent feedback to his new single, “Crocodile Street”, a song which, according to the people, painted a picture of events on the island. Elated Keywee noted that the inspiration behind the theme was “his reality and the toughness of daily life.” The Jamaican Observer news reports that the artist is working on completing a six-song EP billed to be released before the end of the year.

Keywee, Jamaican Artist. (Photo: Jamaican Observer)

Jamaica -Ottawa Connection

Many Jamaicans migrated to Canada over the years and have built great connections with people from diverse backgrounds.

The Jamaican Ottawa Community Association Inc. (JOCA) is a famous registered not-for-profit organization formed by students at Carleton University initially in the 60s but subsequently incorporated at the federal level in 1978. The body has consistently engaged residents in Ottawa to “impact decisions that affect the community; raise awareness; to encourage a sense of pride and involvement in issues affecting the community”.

A group of people standing together

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Members and volunteers of JOCA. (Photo: JOCA)

Board Members:

  • President – Jennifer Dennis
  • 1st Vice President – Merdiva Gallimore
  • Treasurer – Elaine Ebanks
  • Secretary – Elaine Hayles
  • Assistant Secretary – Vacant

Please, visit the website  https://jocainc.com/ to read more about the numerous public-driven activities of the Association.

You can also click on the links below to read about previous activities of JOCA covered by the Black Ottawa Scene.