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The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Eastern Region officially launched its Culture Club Project on Tuesday (March 1) at the St. Andrew Parish Church Hall. The launch and conference was held under the theme “Jamaica’s’ 3Rs – ‘Revival, Rasta and Reggae’ – and their contribution to our Cultural Heritage.

In a very thought provoking keynote address, Louis Moyston, Mico University College Lecturer elicited spontaneous bursts of applause from the audience when he acknowledged that, “The autonomous spaces created by Obeah, Myal and Revival and the early Rastafari movements played a significant role in the development of cultural unity, a factor that informed the black liberation process in Jamaica. We need to return to the source to defeat the negative aspects of mass culture, popular culture and the ills of the resurgence of skin bleaching.”

He continued, “As we speak, Patois is not recognised as an official language in Jamaica. Consequently, many of our students in early levels of the educational system who speak and think in that language are disenfranchised. As we speak, Obeah is still criminalized in Jamaica. As we speak, there is no national recognition for Leonard P. Howell, founding philosopher of the Rastafari Movement. As we speak the school’s curriculum is weak as it relates to the teaching of Jamaica’s history, culture, education and training in music.”

It is against this background that Moyston expressed his hope for the Culture Clubs to rekindle the flames that were lit by our ancestors, that sustained our cultural development and that are foundations of this heritage common to the place known as Jamaica.

He encouraged those in attendance to return to the source in an attempt to rebuild the cultural awareness and unity developed leading up to 1938.

Meanwhile, David Reid, Acting Regional Manager, JCDC Eastern Region explained that the conference’s theme is an interpretation of the Jamaican Motto, ‘Out of Many One People’ which forms a core part of the JCDC Culture Club base. “The main tenet of culture clubs is the promotion of the Jamaican Motto, the National Anthem and the National Pledge amongst young Jamaicans thereby making them sound cultural ambassadors.”

Primary and high school students from Hope Valley Experimental, Morant Bay, Yallahs Ardenne, Papine, Merl Grove, Tacius Golding, McGrath, Old Harbour, Bridgeport and McGrath benefited greatly from the display booths mounted by the JCDC showcasing the three cultural forms. Attendees were treated to vibrant performances by the Marcus Garvey Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts 2010 winner, Ardenne High School. Additionally, the event featured presentations from Acting Executive Director of the JCDC, Mr. Delroy Gordon and Field Services Director, Mrs. Marjorie Vernon.

Tasha-Gae Wilson, St. Thomas Festival Queen 2010 and Kenisha Allen, St. Catherine Festival Queen 2010, led the induction of club members in the parishes of St. Thomas, St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew as the JCDC Culture Club projects will become a part of the annual Festival Queen project. The project will seek to lift the consciousness of young Jamaicans and to guide them in becoming aware of the importance of our cultural and heritage in this global village.  It also hopes to provide the members with the opportunities that will aid them in unlocking their true and full potential. 

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