There was a unanimous approval by the council of the Kingston and St Andrew Muncipal Corporation’s (KSAMC) to offer the Keys to The City to the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC).
The Stella Maris Ensemble and the Ashe Company will also be presented with the keys, in recognition of their organisations’ significant cultural contribution to Jamaica and the local performing arts community. A date for the ceremonies is to be announced.
The resolution for the NTDC and Stella Maris Ensemble was moved by Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillor Donovan Samuels (Tivoli Gardens Division) and seconded by People’s National Party (PNP) councillor Venesha Phillips (Papine Division).
What’s more, the bi-partisan nature of the move was seen in that the resolution for the Ashe Company was moved and seconded by PNP councilor Andrew Swaby (Vineyard Town Division) and JLP councillor Andrew Bellamy (Mona Division) respectively.
For his part in the discussion, Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams argued that the creative industry has shaped the aura of “being Jamaican” and the presentation to the NDTC, Stella Maris, and Ashe was long overdue – as they boast 113 years of exemplary cultural value among them.
“It gives us identity as a people, it is always very important for us to honour those who have dedicated their lives to giving us, as a people, identity. We are who we are because of generations of individuals, [Jamaica is] revered across the globe because of our talent,” he said.
“The NDTC, which has been in existence since 1962, has contributed exemplary cultural value to Jamaica’s cultural development. Significant contributions to the development of the performing arts and education have been made by the late Professor “Rex” Nettleford, one of the founders and directors of the NDTC; Eddy Thomas; Dr. Monika Lawrence,” one resolution read.
The resolution said that the Stella Maris Ensemble, which has been in existence for 32 years, has “contributed significantly to the development of the performing arts”.
The resolution noted that in 1986, “the Stella Maris Ensemble became the youngest group to represent Jamaica overseas when they toured the Cayman Islands and were the first group to ever win both Junior and Intermediate categories at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Festival Dance competition”.
All three groups have performed in countries including the United States, Canada, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, Germany, Puerto Rico, Spain, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Trinidad and Tobago.