Joyous festivities in Jamaica
Sir Howard Felix Hanlan Cooke made his official announcement on 23 July 2003 at a ceremony at his residence, the King's House.
The announcement marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the first Baha'i Local Spiritual Assembly in Jamaica.
The official proclamation read: "Whereas the Baha'i Faith teaches that 'The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens,' and embraces as its supreme goal the unification of the entire human race, consisting of divers peoples and cultures...I do hereby proclaim July 25 2003 'Baha'i Day' and urge the members of the Baha'i Faith, and likewise all the citizens of goodwill, towards the high ideals of spiritual brotherhood, and of carrying humanity forward in an ever-advancing civilization."
The Governor General was presented with copies of more than 50 congratulatory messages to the Baha'is of Jamaica. They had been sent by National Spiritual Assemblies all over the world for the occasion.
As part of the reunion events an official reception was held at the national Baha'i center in Kingston on 25 July. The guest of honor was Canon Weevil Gordon, who represented the Governor General.
The guest list also included the chairman of the Inter-Faith Council, Reverend Ashley Smith, and the representative of the Jewish community, Mrs. Norma Chin. Among those attending were 30 Baha'is from overseas, some of whom were originally from Jamaica.
The reception came at the end of two weeks of events throughout the country which included local celebrations, such as a picnic and a dance party, talks on Baha'i topics, and a blood drive organized by the Baha'is of Kingston.
Another commemorative event was a symposium on 26 July that focused on the history and the vision of the Baha'i Faith in Jamaica.
A public devotional gathering, with over 150 participants, involving prayers and readings from the Baha'i holy writings, was held on 27 July. The recording of that event will be broadcast on the radio throughout the nation.
©Copyright 2003, Baha'i World News Service