Portland couple has never missed an Independence Day parade

PORTLAND, Jamaica – Only a small crowd turned out for the Independence Day parade held in Port Antonio Square Sunday morning. Among them were a deceptively youthful-appearing Rupert and Monica Hall who said they have both been attending these events since the first one was held in 1962.

“The attendance has been getting less and less. The first Independence we ran a relay and carried a baton,” Rupert told the Jamaica Observer as he proudly showed a photograph of the race.

“It means a whole lot to me and I always come back to capture it,” he said as he used his cellphone to capture moments from this year’s experience.

His wife Monica was just as excited.

“I’m happy to be here and I’m proud of my country. See, I’m wearing my colours,” she said with a smile.

Custos of Portland, Lincoln Thaxter led with the reading of the governor general’s message while mayor of Port Antonio, Councillor Paul Thompson brought greetings. The prime minister’s message was read by Jamaica Labour Party Caretaker Councillor Athlee Carey from the Fairy Hill Division while councillor caretaker for the Fellowship Division Colin Bell read the message from Opposition Leader Mark Golding.

Also among the officials attending was pastor of Shiloh Apostolic Church in Port Antonio and national overseer of Apostolic Churches in Jamaica, Bishop Delroy Farr; deputy superintendent of police in charge of administration for Portland, Julio Francis; Jamaica Fire Brigade Superintendent Raymond Goodlette; and Miss Portland Festival Queen Makalia Benjamin.

The Port Antonio Marching Band led a march pass by the police, fire service, and cadets from Titchfield and Port Antonio high schools.