Today Jamaica celebrates 58 years of independence. This year the country celebrates under the theme, “Resilience and Strong”. The colonization period was one of the most drastic and horrific period for the country. After suffering from years of abuse and exploitation, the country finally got the opportunity to build in 1962. When celebrating anniversaries in many cases accomplishments would be reminisced on and over the years despite many setbacks Jamaica has been able to produce its own share of significant achievements. Today the country has an identity of its own; one that is embraced by its people and like many would say, “wi likkle but wi tallawah”.
In celebrating this year’s independence let us look back on some of Jamaica’s proudest achievements over the years.
Jamaica has found its own space in the music industry. The Reggae and Dancehall industry took a huge jump following the popular reggae icon Bob Marley. Since then many reggae artist have been following in his steps. Artists such as Chronixx, Pop Corn, his son Damion Marley, the very young Koffee, and many others have been doing a great job in ensuring Jamaica remains on the charts. The Jamaican music can be heard not only across the island on local radio stations but is also a favorite genre for many foreigners.
Since Independence Jamaica has had its share of leaders. Though many would argue that a lot of mistakes were made 58 years ago we would not have even been able to take part in decision making for the country. Since 1962 the country has had a total of 9 Prime Ministers. William Alexander Bustamante worked was the founder of the first trade union in Jamaica; Donald Sangster was successful in ensuring Jamaica is accepted in all major international organization such as the International Monetary Fund; Edward Seaga worked hard in community development, human resource development, cultural development and on international initiatives; Portia Simpson Miller was Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister and was ranked by Time Magazine as among its 100 most influential persons in the world in 2012. Her accomplishments include reform to the Overseas Farmworkers program through the Overseas Recruitment Centre for Farm Workers. It was also Mrs. Portia Simpson’s initiative which resulted in the significant growth in the National Insurance Fund which benefits pensioners. Finally, the current Prime Minister Andrew Holness who has been working assiduously in improving the countries economy and ensuring stability.
The country has printed its name boldly on the map for the fastest men and women in the world. Thanks to track stars like Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and many others Jamaica is regarded as the “country of the swift”. During track seasons big screens proudly display the strong men and women who train for yearly Olympic events. The vibrant Jamaican citizens excitedly flood these areas with cheers either by mouth, horns, and sometimes even pot covers.
Jamaica is not only popular on the tracks but also for Associates football which is played at the professional and amateur level. The national football team, nicknamed Reggae Boys and Reggae Girlz won the Caribbean cup 5 times (1991, 1998, 2005, 2008 and 2010). The country also advanced to the 1998 Fifa World Cup were they earned 2-1 win against Japan.
And finally is the island’s most popular sport, Cricket. The Jamaica national cricket team has won ten Regional Four Day Competitions and seven WICB Cups. Jamaicans also play for the West Indies cricket team, which won the 1975 and 1979 Cricket World Cup. Jamaica has produced some of the world’s most famous cricketers, including George Headley, Courtney Walsh, Chris Gayle, and Michael Holding.
Other popular sports that have been growing in Jamaica are Netball, Basketball, and Rugby.
Plays and Movies
That’s right, Jamaica has its own lane in the entertainment industry. Persons such as international comedian Oliver and others such as Keith “Shebada” Ramsey, and Andre ‘Delcita’ Wright are just some of the familiar faces on the Jamaican stages. Oliver is regarded the ‘king of comedy’ and his plays provide what any Jamaican would say, “a belly full a laughter”. Some of his plays include Sarge in Charge and Oliver at Large. Plays starring Shebada include Double Dose, Set Up, Bashment Granny, and Shebada Goes to School.
Jamaicans can also be seen in many popular movies including the most recent, Sprinter which was released in 2008 and stars popular Jamaican comedian and social media influencer, Dale Elliott. The very popular Jamaican sports superstar Usain Bolt was also cast in the movie. Other popular Jamaican movies that has been very successful are Dancehall Queen, Shottas, The Harder they Come, Yardie and many others.