Facts and Figures 19 October 2014

The National Anthem

The Jamaican National Anthem was first used on August 6, 1962, the day of our independence. We sing the Anthem standing at attention, with our hands by our sides. All persons should stand at attention, (i.e., heels together) at the playing of the National Anthem and men should remove their hats.

The first verse of the National Anthem should be played or sung as specifically designated on the arrival of the Governor-General or the Prime Minister.

Singing of the National Anthem should form part of the ceremony of raising and lowering of the flag at the beginning and end of term in schools and at Independence celebrations.



Eternal Father, Bless our Land
Guide us with thy mighty hand
Keep us free from evil powers
Be our light through countless hours
To our leaders, great defender
Grant true wisdom from above
Justice, truth be ours forever
Jamaica, land we love
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love

Teach us true respect for all
Stir response to duty's call
Strengthen us the weak to cherish
Give us vision lest we perish
Knowledge send us Heavenly Father
Grant true wisdom from above
Justice, truth be ours forever
Jamaica, land we love
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love

Facts and Figures 19 October 2014

The National Pledge


Before God and All mankind
I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart
The wisdom and courage of my mind.
The strength and vigour of my body
in the service of my fellow citizens.

I promise to stand up for justice,
Brotherhood and Peace,
to work diligently and creatively,
To think generously and honestly,
so that, Jamaica may, under God,
increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity,
and play her part in advancing the welfare of
the whole human race.


Facts and Figures 01 October 2013

The Coat of Arms

The Jamaican national motto is ‘Out of Many One People’, based on the population’s multi-racial roots. The motto is represented on the Coat of Arms, showing a male and female member of the Taino tribe standing on either side of a shield which bears a red cross with five golden pineapples.

The crest shows a Jamaican crocodile mounted on the Royal Helmet of the British Monarchy and mantling.

Facts and Figures 19 October 2014

The National Flower

The Lignum Vitae, the Jamaica National Flower, was found here by Christopher Columbus. Its' name, when translated from Latin, means “wood of life” – probably adopted because of its medicinal qualities.

The short, compact tree is native to continental tropical American and the West Indies. In Jamaica it grows best in the dry woodland along the north and south coasts of the Jamaica.

The plant is extremely ornamental, producing an attractive blue flower and orange-yellow fruit, while its crown has an attractive rounded shape. Its small purple blossom is what we label as Jamaica's national flower!

The tree is one of the most useful in the world. The body, gum, bark, fruit, leaves and blossom all serve some useful purpose. In fact, the tree has been regarded for its medicinal properties. The leaf of the plant is used for rubbing on cuts and insect bites by many people particulary those in the St. Elizabeth are of Jamaica.

The wood was once used as propeller shaft bearings in nearly all the ships sailing the ‘Seven Seas’. Because of this, Lignum Vitae and Jamaica are closely associated in shipyards worldwide. It is a very heavy wood which will sink in water. Because of its toughness it is used for items such as mortars, mallets, pulleys and batons carried by policemen. It is also used for furniture.

Facts and Figures 19 October 2014

Miss Lou

Louise Simone Bennett-Coverley or Miss Lou, OM, OJ, MBE (September 7, 1919 – July 26, 2006) was a Jamaican folklorist, writer, and educator. She was born in Kingston, Jamaica and attended Ebenezer and Calabar Elementary Schools, St. Simon's College, Excelsior College, and Friends College (Highgate, St Mary).

Miss Lou was a resident artiste and a teacher from 1945 to 1946 with the "Caribbean Carnival". She appeared in leading humorous roles in several Jamaican Pantomimes and television shows. She traveled throughout the World promoting the culture of Jamaica by lecturing and performing. Although her popularity was International, she enjoyed a celebrity status in her native Jamaica, Canada and the United Kingdom. Her Poetry has been published several times, most notably Jamaica Labrish-1966, Anancy and Miss Lou-1979.

Her most influential recording is probably her 1954 rendition of the Jamaican traditional song Day Dah Light, which was recorded by Harry Belafonte as Day O aka Banana Boat Song in 1955 on a Tony Scott arrangement with extra lyrics. Belafonte based his version on Louise Bennett's recording[1]. His famous version was one of the 1950s biggest hit record, leading to the very first gold record ever awarded.

Among her many recordings are: Jamaica Singing Games - 1953, Jamaican Folk Songs (Folkways Records, 1954), Children's Jamaican Songs and Games (Folkways, 1957) Miss Lou's Views - 1967, Listen to Louise - 1968, Carifesta Ring Ding - 1976, The Honorable Miss Lou - 1981, Miss Lou Live-London - 1983 and Yes M' Dear -Island Records. She was married to Eric Winston Coverley on May 30, 1954 and has 1 adopted son Fabian Coverley.

In 1974, she was appointed to the Order of Jamaica. On Jamaica's Independence Day 2001, the Honorable Mrs. Louise Bennett-Coverley was appointed as a Member of the Jamaican Order of Merit for her invaluable and distinguished contribution to the development of the Arts and Culture. She wrote her poems in the language of the people known as Jamaican Patois or Creole, and helped to put this language on the map and to have it recognised as a language in its own right, thus influencing many poets to do similar things; Other poets such as Mutabaruka.

In 1986, she appeared as Portia in the comedy film Club Paradise, starring Robin Williams, Jimmy Cliff and Peter O'Toole.


She died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 26, 2006.

Facts and Figures 19 October 2014

Oliver Samuels

Oliver Adolphus Samuels is a Jamaican comedian and actor. He is often described as the Jamaican "King of Comedy" performing both stand up and comic theatre.

Samuels found fame on the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation's television series Oliver At Large, which was created by producer Calvin Butler and playwright Aston Cooke. In this series, Oliver played his alter ego Olivius Adams, aka Oliver. The series featured sketches from Oliver's exploits, often with his sidekick, Maffi. Several spin-off theatre pieces have been created for the Oliver character including Large Abroad, Oliver's Posse (1999), Oliver and Pinocchio (2001), and Oliver and the Genie (2002).

Oliver Samuels, known by most through his vastly popular television series, Oliver at Large, has combined a career in marketing with life on stage, touring every year between spring and summer before returning home for his executive offices at Mack D's—the Kingston-based company where he is a director and head of marketing and public relations.

Abroad, he is known as Jamaica's Bill Cosby, and is a brand name that is synonymous with Jamaica and laughter. Samuels is widely regarded as one of the funniest talents to emerge from the Caribbean.

In addition to his work with the local car company, Oliver Samuels was recently selected by the wire transfer service Unitransfer to star in a series of advertisements that will market their products to Florida's Caribbean community.

Samuels also, in recent times, piloted the launch of Oliver's Yaad Cyaad which features Samuels giving instructions in Patois and standard English. The unique feature of Patois prompts is a first for the international calling-card industry. Oliver Samuels is known to speak perfect patois!

As well as having a large following in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, Samuels frequently tours Britain and North America, playing to the Caribbean ex-pat community.

Facts and Figures 19 October 2014

Courtney Walsh

Courtney Andrew Walsh was born on the 30th of October 1962 to parents Joan Wollaston and Eric Walsh and raised on Molynes Road in the Half Way Tree area of Kingston.

A lanky six footer Courtney Walsh, known by close relatives and friends as 'Mark' or 'Cuddy,' grew up to be a very ambitious young man. The Melbourne Cricket club was the starting point of this legend. Born on the southern wall at Melbourne, Courtney grew up on cricket, hearing the sound of bat hitting ball, evening after evening.

During his high school years he attended Excelsior High school, there Courtney specialized in Accounts and Commerce, however, he was most passionate about cricket. Courtney joined the Sunlight Cup Cricket team at Excelsior where he made local history as the only school boy to capture all 10 wickets in an inning in a match against Camperdown High.

Walsh was selected as a member of the Jamaica youth team in 1983 where he contributed towards the team's victories. Two clubs sought to have his services. One of which was Gloucestershire, who he signed a contract with in 1984 that lasted for 14 years before it ended acrimoniously late in 1998. There he got the nickname 'Duracell', because of his ability to bowl long spells.

Courtney was member of The West Indies Cricket team for 18 years starting on his journey to success in 1984 – 85 when he had his test debut against Australia at Perth. Courtney took his first wicket, M.G. Wood caught by R.B. Richardson for 56.

In 1988, Courtney took a unique Hat Trick in the first test of the 1988-89 series against Australia in Brisbane with last ball of first innings and first two balls of his first spell in the second innings. By 1994, Walsh was appointed West Indies captain for a tour of India and New Zealand. In 1995, he had his test careers best bowling performance of 7-37 in the second test against New Zealand in Wellington. He became the second Jamaican and the seventh West Indian bowler to take 200 wickets in test cricket when he trapped Bast Ali, leg before wicket in the second innings of the second test against Pakistan at Kensington Oval.

Also, Courtney achieved his landmark 300-test wickets during the sixth and final test against England at the Oval. Walsh continued to create history in 1998 when he became West Indies leading Wicket-taker in tests when he passed Malcolm Marshall's Mark of 376 wickets in his first test against South Africa in Johannesburg. In 1999, when he became the first West Indian and only third bowler in test history, after Kapil Dev (434) and Sir Richard Hadlee (431), to take 400 test wickets.

Facts and Figures 19 October 2014

Bob Marley

Bob Marley was born in St. Ann on February 6, 1945. His father, Norval St. Clair Marley, was a white Naval Officer. Marley's mother's name was Cedella Malcolm Marley.

Bob Marley's move to Kingston was a milestone in his life. During Bob's eighteen months in Kingston he was introduced to music. This was an introduction that would have profound effect on the rest of his life, the Jamaican community, and the world.


His music Career

The music of Bob Marley and The Wailers was filled with images of Third World strife alive with symbols and sayings derived from Jamaican and African traditions. Later their music began to concern itself with social issues on the island, whether it was denouncing police harassment as in "Rebel Music" or in "Them Belly Full" about poverty and hunger.

The first song attributed to Bob Marley was "Judge Not" produced by Leslie Kong, when Bob was a teenager. It was soon followed by "Terror" and "One Cup of Coffee". In 1962 the Wailers were formed with Neville O'Riley Livingston, popularly known as "Bunny Wailer", Winston Hubbert McIntosh, also known "Peter Tosh", Bob Marley, Rita Anderson-Marley and Beverly Kelso. In 1963 the Wailers big break came with their first single "Summer Down" which stayed on the charts at number one for two months. It was quickly followed by the release of "Rude Boy" and "Jail House".

In late 1974, a new group was formed with Bob performing as lead singer with the I-Threes - Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths as back up singers. From 1976 onwards, Bob Marley and the Wailers drew large crowds to their concerts. They have toured extensively throughout countries such as the United States of America and Canada, the continent of Europe, Trinidad, Japan, Hawaii, Australia and most memorable of all Zimbabwe, Africa.

Bob Marley has left a legacy to the world, in the creation of Reggae Music. Jamaica has become known worldwide because of the popularity of the man and his music.

Facts and Figures 19 October 2014



The Jamaican Giant swallowtail butterfly is said to be one of the largest butterflies in the Western Hemisphere but the smallest subspecies of Papilio Thoas. It is yellow and black in colour and has a wing span of up to 20cm.

This specie of butterfly is endemic to Jamaica and is primarily found in the eastern end of the Blue Mountains and Cockpit Country.This may be attributed to the fact that they prefer to dwell in remote, undisturbed areas. It is said that they also prefer wet limestone forest.

Swallowtails are different from other butterflies in a number of ways. They possess a unique organ behind their heads as caterpillars called the osmeterium. This is normally hidden but when the caterpillar feels threatened by predators, it is used to release a foul smell. They also generally have tails on their hind wings and are known to be nomadic.

For food, these butterflies usually feed on leaves of trees and flowers. The giant swallowtails are among Jamaica’s finest gems and are to be protected, not collected.

Facts and Figures 19 October 2014

Mary Jane Seacole

Mary Jane Seacole (1805 – 14 May 1881), sometimes known as Mother Seacole or Mary Grant was a Jamaican nurse best known for her involvement in the Crimean War. She set up and operated boarding houses in Panama and the Crimea to assist in her desire to treat the sick. Seacole was taught herbal remedies and folk medicine by her mother, who kept a boarding house for disabled European soldiers and sailors.

Confident that her knowledge of tropical medicine could be useful, and after hearing of poor medical provisions for wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, she travelled to London to volunteer as a nurse. Relying on her experience in the Caribbean, she applied to the War Office and asked to be sent as an army assistant to the Crimea. She was refused, mainly because of prejudice against women's involvement in medicine at the time.

The British Government later decided to permit women to travel to the affected area, but she was not included in the party of 38 nurses chosen by Florence Nightingale. Instead, she borrowed money to make the 4,000-mile (about 6500 km) journey by herself. She distinguished herself treating battlefield wounded, often nursing wounded soldiers from both sides while under fire. When the conflict ended in 1856 she found herself stranded and almost destitute, and was only saved from adversity by friends from the Crimean War who organised a benefit concert. In later years, she expressed a desire to work in India after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, but was unable to raise the necessary funds.

Seacole was honoured in her lifetime, alongside Florence Nightingale, but after her death she was forgotten for almost a century. Today, she is noted for her bravery and medical skills and as "a woman who succeeded despite the racial prejudice of influential sections of Victorian society". Her autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857), is a vivid account of her experiences, and is one of the earliest autobiographies of a mixed-race woman.