Jamaica’s Independence celebrated in DC

Jamaica’s forty second independence anniversary is being spotlighted in Washington, D.C., with a 77-piece art exhibition that opened on Monday evening at the Organization of American States, featuring works by four women the Jamaican Ambassador, Dr. Gordon Shirley, hailed as distinguished artists.  The event marked Emancipation Day as well.The art display and a reception that followed at OAS Headquarters are part of a week of activities in Washington, D.C. to celebrate Emancipation Day, August 1, and Independence Day, August 6 as “two very important days on the calendar of Jamaicans,” Ambassador Gordon Shirley noted.

Inaugurating the exhibition that features Cecile Escoffery and Heather Sutherland-Wade who live in Jamaica, the Baltimore-based Helen Elliott and the Brussels-based Audrey Atkinson, Ambassador Shirley asserted: “The fact that we have four women artists is a clear indication that the once male-dominated visual arts grouping in Jamaica has given way to a comfortable, if not ascendant, accommodation to our female artists.”

All the featured artists were on hand and spoke at the exhibition launch.

Meanwhile, at the reception that followed, the newly-installed envoy - who is also Ambassador to the United States - underscored the change taking place in Jamaica.  He spoke about legislative and other moves to adapt to the changing environment while building and deepening the nation’s relationships with the Caribbean neighbors, including through the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and the Caribbean Court of Justice.

“On the economic front, we feel quite optimistic because all the trends are in the right direction,” he said, pointing to significant developments in the investment climate and in infrastructure development.  He cited World Bank reviews that declare Jamaica to be among the most business-friendly environments in which to invest.
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