Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy 2019: Purpose and Vision


The 1944 Hurricane and flood caused significant damage including the loss of 40% of coconut crop in Jamaica. The majority of coffee and pimento crops in St Thomas were also destroyed. The lack of synergy between Jamaicans aspirations and employment opportunities, meant that the chance to travel to England (advertised in the Jamaican press) was met with enthusiasm.

On the 28th May 1948 some 500 (officially 492) paying passengers, boarded the Empire Windrush (Windrush) on its way from Australia to England via Jamaica. The fare per passenger was £28.10s (£600 today). Passengers included former World War 2 (WW2) servicemen some of whom who hoped to re-join the RAF. The Windrush passengers disembarked at the port of Tilbury, London (England) on 23rd June 1948. With no place to stay, they were given underground shelter in Clapham South, a couple of miles from Coldharbour Lane in Brixton. It was a journey of discovery that changed passengers lives forever.

During the seventy years in Britain, the Windrush Generation endured riots in Birmingham, Nottingham, Notting Hill and other manifestations of unfriendly and racist behaviours. In spite of the ignorance, the Windrush Generation (of diverse backgrounds, faiths, educational attainments, experience and skills) exceeded all expectations. Women and men from the West Indian Islands and African countries became the backbone of the manufacturing industry and the National Health Service (NHS), transportation, undertaking menial, dirty, heavy lifting and dangerous, but, essential work. Many who had attained higher education and training qualifications were denied access to suitable employment. Notwithstanding the hardship, the Windrush Generation settled and developed communities in and around factories and hospitals in accessible and affordable but poor accommodations. Soon they were able send for loved ones, children, families and friends. Some found friendship and marriage with local women and men. They persevered, raised families, built strong friendships and relationships, found independent places to worship and develop socially, culturally and politically. With the aid of Partner saving and lending scheme and later High Street Banks, many were able to purchase houses to secure their families and friends until they too could buy a house.

The contrast to the social and cultural challenges experienced is that the Windrush Generation came from strong, vibrant and loving communities (cities, towns, districts), with clear sense of identity, respect and the unspoken culture: “it takes a community to raise a child” – education and faith being the core of communities. In short, English/British culture failed to understand and fully support the development of Windrush Generation thereby missing the fundamentals of building thriving and sustainable communities.

Currently, there are only a few areas the Windrush Generation has not penetrated and excelled in. Their presence can be found in all areas and levels of British life, including arts, sports and culture, commerce and business, faith and politics, military and police, education and academia, health, medicine and social-care – whilst continuing to support the growth of Jamaica through the above alongside tourism, remittance and land and property development.

The Windrush Generation has indeed left an indelible mark across the canvas of the UK enabling continued development in Britain and Jamaica. The question therefore is: does current and future generations have the passion and commitment needed to continue to build Britain and Jamaica simultaneously?

The Purpose of the Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy

For more than seventy years the Windrush Generation has made significant and personal sacrifices advancing and developing Britain as a sustainable place to live, work and raise families.

In recognition of the magnificent and consistent contributions made by the Windrush Generation both in Britain and Jamaica, the Government of Jamaica, through His Excellency, Seth George Ramocan, High Commissioner for Jamaica in the UK, has taken the decision to celebrate the achievements and contributions of the Windrush Generation in the form of the Celebrating the Jamaican Legacy. The Award is based on the colours of the Jamaican Flag: Black; Green; and Gold. The three parts of the flag have significant but different meanings which are equal in value or status.

Categories of the Award, events, activities and publications

Please study the section below followed by the criteria and guidance attached.

By completing the Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy nomination form you are recommending an individual to the selection panel for consideration. A nominator can be an individual (work colleague, friend, relative, historian, faith leader, etc) and organisation who are aware of the achievements and background of the nominee. Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy selection panel will consider all nominations against a set of criteria and guidelines.

Successful nominees will receive, and may be invited to participate and/or be included in, the following:

a) A special Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy Certificate;

b) Life story and photograph included in a special full colour Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy Book containing 500 successful recipients photographs and stories;

c) A Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy booklet – for easy access and multiple uses;

d) An invitation to the Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy Gala Dinner in June 2019;

e) Recipients stories and photographs will feature in a range of Training and Development Seminars, Exhibitions and Workshops. These will be strategically delivered across the UK throughout the year and updated annually;

f) Encourage and stimulate inter generational dialogue to discuss, debate and recommend strategies and actions to support the development of the Windrush Generation and future generations;

g) Plan and deliver the Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy glossy book with the possibility of a Volume Two. The emphasis of Volume Two will be on the contributions and achievements of the younger Windrush Generations;

h) Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy Gala Dinner could be held annually across the UK;

i) Events and activities will be promoted on Social Media, posters and flyers and in Local, Regional and National publications, and radio and television broadcastings;

j) All contributors to the annual Celebrating The Jamaican Legacy publications, events and activities will be officially recognised in all publications and promotional campaigns.

Please see the attachments for the Categories & Criteria Guidance and the Nominations forms.

JHC Celebrating the Jamaican Legacy – Nomination Form and Guidance July …     JHC Celebrating the Jamaican Legacy – Categories, Criteria & Guidance July 18

Please be advised that the deadline for submitting nominations for Celebrating the Jamaican Legacy has been extended to 31st October 2018.