The Jamaican community and friends of nation in Antwerp, Belgium, received its fair share of laughter on Saturday, 15 November, 2014, from internationally renowned Jamaican comedian, Mr. Oliver Samuels. The occasion was the Jamaican Gala Dinner and Charity Event, organised by the Jamaican community and held under the patronage of Her Excellency Vilma McNish, Jamaica’s Ambassador to Belgium, at the Linder Hotel in Antwerp.
Mr. Samuels, who was the master of ceremonies, kept the audience entertained throughout the evening as he interacted with the guests in his inimitable comedic style. He recounted experiences such as his recent encounter with the dreaded Chikungunya virus. Proceeds from the event will go towards the restoration of the Ward Theatre in Kingston, Jamaica, and Mr. Samuels reminded the audience of the enormous significance of the Ward for Jamaican theatre, having provided the stage for many renowned performers, including himself, to launch their careers and the staging of the nation’s annual pantomime.
In her address, Ambassador McNish used the opportunity to encourage participation in the Jamaican Diaspora Mapping Project, which involves an online survey aimed at identifying and mobilizing skills, expertise and interests the Jamaican Diaspora to contribute to national development. The Ambassador also stressed the importance of representatives of the Jamaican community in Belgium participating in the next Jamaican Biennial Diaspora Conference, which will be held in June 2015 in Montego Bay.
Entertainment was provided by talented members of the community. Guests were treated to a buffet of typical Jamaican cuisine courtesy of Jamaican national Mr. Omar McBean, a top chef at the hotel. The Gala Dinner and Charity Event is the first in what is expected to be an annual affair by the Jamaican community
One of the highlights of the evening was the grand raffle, which included a trip for two to Jamaica courtesy of Belgian Airline Jet Air Fly, and Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort, Montego Bay. Other sponsors of the event included the Ministry of Youth and Culture, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica Information Service, and the VDL Group, the Belgian manufacturers of buses for the transportation system in Jamaica..-OnPointPress.net.