Jamaica's first Independence - I was there!

by Paula Loraine Regina Roche (Reilly)
(Cheney, WA, USA)

Jamaica50 Entry #3 -Jamaica's first Independence - I was there




I was fourteen years old, my mother Frances Welsh Roche was engaged to the general contractor who built the national stadium. His name is E. (Egbert) Powell.

Later I was chosen to represent Jamaica at the first day celebration.

I dressed in our national costume and was seated between, the Vice President of the United States Mr. Lyndon Johnson, Lady Bird his wife, and his daughter Lynda Johnson and on my left was Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon!!

I was to meet and greet all the VIP's as an usher. So after I seated them I stood in the aisle and a bunch of photographers ran up and started taking flash photos of me.

They said I was a perfect selection to represent the "girls of Jamaica". Funny since I am a white Jamaican.

Anyway the photos were displayed in a whole page of the New York Times paid for by Citibank's Caribbean chief Executive Vice President, Robert (can't recall his last name, he was my mother's boss).

Then I got back in my seat and I was so scared and excited since there had been a rumor that the country would become violent right after the ceremony. Of course, you know Jamaicans, always spreading rumors that are not true. Nothing bad happened.

The ceremony began with the "God Save the Queen" then after it was played by the Jamaican military band then the lights were turned off totally.
For a minute it was so dark, then the light came back on and the flag pole was illuminated with lights and the Jamaican Flag rose and flew and then there was a salute of guns then the whole sky lit up with fireworks and the screams of everyone while we sang for the first time our National Anthem.

I have never felt so proud of my people than that night. It was perfect and I will never forget it.

We left the stadium and went to the reception at the Governor General's mansion. We had dreams for our country that we would become rich without the greedy English and all would be well but sadly it didn't turn out as we planned.

Still Jamaica is still Paradise, I am still so proud to be Jamaican and come from a country so rich with culture and history. It is the greatest nation in the world. Out of Many One People.

Happy Jamaica50th!



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Jul 11, 2012
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Rich is not always in money or materials
by: Mike Tuck

That's fantastic to get to be part of your Countrys Independence celebration! Your story is that of many people wanting to be free of Tyranny, outside rule, etc. But were all serving some kind of master, and the whole world is a huge cast system in which were devided into poor middle and rich.

Being kind and charitable is a richness in it's own. You make friends who in return are there when you need them, if not financially then to help understand. The haves and havenots.

I am still paying for my trips to jamaica ( I wanted to take my Wife somewhere special. ) Now some may want the City and all the nighttime fun and excitement. Jamaicans do not know how special they have it. An ocean to fish and land of natural food(riches)including the beauty of the plants that feed them. The thing that was special to me is the people as getting to see how other people live and how we adjust is wonderful.

Given 3 months out of your element you'd want to have some or all of it back. Freedom is simplicity, it's being able to live a uncomplicated life that's full of family and friends that help each other.

Please people of Jamaica don't take what you have around you for granted, the world will market you a whole lot of dreams that lead to dead ends and their pockets full, yours not so much. When you market Jamaica, market come and visit, relax and share our paradise.

And Gov. of Jamaica don't ruin it by causing conflict between the tourist and the natives.

We were there for both the beauty and the people, the culture. trying to market to outsiders at the native peoples expence only causes the Native people to dislike the tourism and everyone is unhappy.

We were there to share a experience not to rent your country.

Jul 09, 2012
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interesting!
by: Anonymous

you were actually there!

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