Yeah Mon Jamaican Independence Day is in full swing and naturally will last a week.
It’s 59 years since the Jamaicans led the way by becoming the first Caribbean country to break from the UK.
Following the experiment of the West Indies Federation between 1958 and 1962.
Where Jamaica led (and leads) its Caribbean neighbours followed.
And Trinidad & Tobago also took the plunge that magical year of 1962.
Barbados followed in 1966 before there was a rush of freedom in the Seventies.
With the Bahamas in 1973, Granada in 1974, Dominica 1978 and St Lucia and St Vincent in 1979.
And Antigua & Barbuda in 1981 and St Kitts & Nevis joining the gang in 1983.
All of which means that there will be a landmark every year to keep us all going for the next few years.
Now where once Britain left its footprint on the Caribbean,West Indians have transformed British life.
In the years since we put out the call to come here to help rebuild the post-war UK.
So we probably all think we know the Windies well by now, and Jamaica, and Jamaicans, in particular.
And its British, and more specifically Scottish and Irish links.
But did you know?
That Jamaica is more than reggae, though there’s plenty of Marley which is good for me.
Try out the ska, mento, dancehall, ragga, dub and rocksteady. And soca, although there’s more of that in the southern Caribbean.
And it’s not just Usain Bolt though who has ripped up the sporting world, though he’s plenty good for us too.
Usain follows in the spikesteps of the marvellous Marlene Ottey and the Don, Don Quarry.
Other kings and queens of sport
While Elaine Thompson-Herah led a Jamaican 1-2-3 in this month’s Olympics ahead of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson.
Mikey Holding, Courtney Walsh and Chris Gayle are just three of the calypso cricketers; Mike McCallum and Trevor Berbick are Caribbean kings of the ring.
While who can forget the Winter Olympics bobsleigh team who gave us Cool Runnings and the Jamaica football team who reached the World Cup.
Thank God for Jamaica
That the island has more than 100 Christian denominations may come as a surprise.
And more churches, 2.75 per square mile, than any other country in the world.
And, of course, a morning in church (and it will be a morning) and a gospel choir should be on your must-do list when you visit.
As should the rum bars where for hardened rummies this is what you should order…
Jancraw Batty, which translates as ‘vulture’s ass’ and is under the rum bar counter.
There will be plenty Jancraw Batty raised today.
Yeah Mon Jamaican Independence Day.
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