Jamaica marks 50th anniversary

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A man paints a roadside wall mural saying 'Proud to be Jamaican' in Kingston, Jamaica (AP) // A man paints a roadside wall mural saying 'Proud to be Jamaican' in Kingston, Jamaica (AP)
A man paints a roadside wall mural saying 'Proud to be Jamaican' in Kingston, Jamaica (AP)
Shrugging off economic hardships and high crime, people across Jamaica have proudly displayed the national colours of gold, black and green to mark the Caribbean island's 50th anniversary of independence from Britain.
Telephone poles and streetlights were wrapped in the flag's colours across the scenic island of less than three million inhabitants. In the capital of Kingston, revellers wore shirts emblazoned with Jamaica's name as they thronged a "golden jubilee village" showcasing the country's history, food and culture.
In the grounds of the national stadium, displays paid tribute to prominent islanders like black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey and reggae icon Bob Marley. The air filled with the smell of sizzling jerk chicken cooked in oil drums.
The celebration came a day after Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake thrilled their homeland by winning the gold and silver medals in the 100m sprint at the London Olympics. Another Jamaican, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, won her second consecutive Olympic title in the women's 100m on Saturday to start off a historic weekend for her homeland.
Prime minister Portia Simpson Miller, who wants her Commonwealth country to sever some ties with the British monarchy so it can turn the page on its colonial past, made a special point to thank the nation's athletes. "My fellow Jamaicans, across the city of London, with every stride that they made, our Jamaican spirits soared. With every jump high or long, we heard a proud Jamaican roar," said the country's first female leader.
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