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Community responds to I Love Jamaica Day

TWO OF A KIND: Luciano (left) and Paulette Tajah take a break between performances

REPRESENTATIVES OF some of Jamaica’s favourite household brands, bakers, jewellery and clothing vendors, book sellers, families, domino club members, dignitaries and members of the public turned out to Capital City Academy to enjoy the third annual I Love Jamaica Day.

Hosted by The Voice, JN Bank and JN Money the fun-filled day was an early celebration for those looking forward to the 55th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence (August 6), as well as a chance to meet stars such as Grammy-nominated Luciano, famed food entrepreneur Levi Roots, a Queen of Lovers Rock Paulette Tajah as well as local MP Dawn Butler and Brent Mayor Bhagwanji Chohan, to name a few.

The idea behind I Love Jamaica Day is to fuse practical information for people of Jamaican heritage alongside a day filled with food and festivities. Workshops on property development in Jamaica, health, legal advice and immigration were lead by brands such as JN Bank, Coldwell Banker, Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation.

JEWEL IN THE CROWN: MP Dawn Butler, centre, with the January's Finest Jewellery team

The Royal Air Force team were out in full uniform to speak with those who were up for a new career challenge, and told The Voice:

“We’re here to help raise awareness about all the career opportunities and the lifestyle opportunities that the Royal Air Force offers. We’re just normal people that do slightly different jobs.”


HANDS UP FOR JAMAICA: Brent's Mayor Bhagwanji Chohan welcomes the crowd while on stage

As well as career information, many members of the community flocked stalls such as Faith Robinson’s, who explained why she felt her company, Promoting Our Heritage, was enjoying such a steady stream of customers on the day:

“We have the Jamaican Patois Bible, we have the brand new book for Usain Bolt. We sell lots of Jamaican cookbooks and we have lots of books for children, Rasta Mouse, and we also have Miss Lou. Everyone has to have a Miss Lou!”

The NHS Blood and Transport team were among the stalls and mobile donation units who had come along with a more serious message. A member said:

READ ALL ABOUT IT: The Voice stand proved popular

“We’re on a drive to recruit to give blood – and especially black people. It’s very difficult, but you just have to educate and encourage and hope for the best.”

Wearing t-shirts with 'Health is Wealth' boldly emblazoned on them, a member of the Diabetes UK stall told The Voice:

“We’re here to remind people about exercising and a healthy balanced diet. We also talk to people about the lifestyle that will keep them healthy and managing diabetes more effectively.”

IT'S GOOD TO TALK: The Voice team speak with the Angela Rose Cakes stand

As well as DJ Cappuccino being in attendance, the Candy Mas crew were also celebrating the day, and spoke to The Voice about what else they get up to away from the decks. He said:

“We’re a carnival mas band for Notting Hill Carnival and we have some of our t- shirts, shorts and some of our costumes here. We’re looking for people that are bands, dancers and masqueraders that want to join us.

“Taking part is a huge part of Notting Hill Carnival – it’s not just about watching but it’s about getting involved.”

GOOD TIMES: Revellers were all smiles

Food was a big draw on the day, and caterers included Leytonstone’s Plantation Inn who have been around for 35 years
– as long as The Voice itself.

“I remember when The Voice just started,” said co-founder Mabelyn Hamilton.

Hamilton’s granddaughter added:

CHILD'S PLAY: Youngsters enjoyed waving their I Love Jamaica flags

“The company was set-up by my grandparents Mabelyn and George Hamilton. I would say our signature dish is the curry goat.”

At this point, Hamilton disagreed, and said:

“It’s the escovitch fish!”

SING OUT: Adelaide Mackenzie was among the performers

After enjoying the curry goat in question from Plantation Inn, Jayden Harris, 19, told The Voice that he travelled some 25 miles from Croydon to take part in the day:

“I’m here because it’s not very often you get something like this in London – we’ve got to make the most of the sun!
I think there used to be more chances to go out and get some food and hear some music, but now it’s like all the outdoor events have forgotten about reggae and basement music, and I thought I would be able to enjoy that here.”

Merlene Yannick, 53, from Brent Cross said:

THANK YOU: Horace Hines, General Manager of JN Money Services (UK) Limited on the microphone

“It’s been a wonderful day! I’ve come here and met-up with people I haven’t seen for ages. My son is on the field playing football with the grandkids, and I spoke to Dawn Butler, who’s been walking around and enjoying everything. Me and my husband were most looking forward to hearing Luciano, but there’s so much more to do here today. He’s picked up loads of books, I’ve tried some rum cake – maybe I can persuade him to buy some earrings now!

“Well done to The Voice, this is what it’s all about – you bring people together and we have fun in a peaceful way.

“We’re hoping it comes back this way next year.”

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