Current Affairs

Current Affairs




Summer celebrations enhanced 'feel good factor'
Observer/Stone Poll

Monday, September 02, 2002


The fountain at Emancipation Park has impressed many Jamaicans.

IF the ruling People's National Party (PNP) was hoping for an enhancement in the 'feel good factor' from a raft of celebrations in July and August it may have got it, a new opinion poll suggests.

For, according to the survey done for the Observer by the Stone Organisation, Jamaicans, in substantial majority, were very proud or felt good with how the country managed the World Youth Athletic Championships (93 per cent) in mid-July as well as the early August celebrations marking Emancipation Day (78 per cent) and the island's 40th anniversary of Independence (79 per cent).

A dancer at the opening of Emancipation Park.

Although the youth games were in planning for several years, it was widely held that if the event, involving athletes from 154 countries, was well-managed and captured the imagination of the Jamaican people, it would give a fillip to the government and the PNP's election campaign.

Additionally, it was clear that the administration tried hard to make this year's celebrations marking emancipation from slavery in 1834 and Jamaica's independence from Britain in 1962 very special events.

Independence Grand Gala.

Prime Minister P J Patterson, for instance, on August 1, Emancipation Day, opened Emancipation Park in New Kingston and Nigeria's president, Olusegun Obasanjo, Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo, as well as world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, were Patterson's guests for the Independence celebrations on August 6, that included street parades and a host of cultural and other shows.

Stone was asked to test people's response to these events in the August 17 and 18 survey commissioned by the Observer, for which a sample of 1,202 persons, aged 18 and over, was used. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.

Lennox Lewis (left) and Olusegun Obasanjo, two of the prime minister's special guests at the

According to Stone, the respondents, when asked about their reaction to the world junior games, in which Jamaican athletes won 11 medals -- two gold, five silver, four bronze -- 62.5 per cent said the event made them very proud. Another 27.3 per cent said the games made them feel good, while another 3.5 per cent ranged from fairly good to somewhat good. Jamaica ranked seventh among the participating countries.

Significantly, only about four per cent were either disappointed with, or indifferent towards the games.

In an earlier survey, 53 per cent of the people had said that they believed Jamaica would have been better off if it had remained a British colony. But in this poll, 49.1 per cent said they felt good about this year's Independence celebrations and 30.1 per cent said that the event made them feel good. Another 4.8 per cent said the event made them feel fairly good, while 2.6 per cent said they felt somewhat good. Just over 11 per cent were either indifferent or disappointed.

With regard to the Emancipation celebrations days earlier, 48.5 per cent were very proud and 29.8 per cent said they felt good about the event, with another eight per cent falling in the fairly good/somewhat good category.

Like with the Independence celebrations, approximately 11 per cent were either disappointed or indifferent.


The nation has just had its Emancipation and Independence celebrations. It also hosted the World Junior Games recently. As a Jamaican, how do you feel about these happenings? Did they make you feel proud, good, fairly good, somewhat good or did they make you feel disappointed, ashamed or were you indifferent towards it all?


Emancipation Independence Junior Games

Very proud 48.5 49.1 62.5

Good 29.8 30.1 27.3

Fairly good 4.5 4.8 2.6

Somewhat good 3.4 2.6 0.9

Disappointed 3.8 4.8 1.1

Indifferent 7.2 6.3 3.8

Don't know 2.8 2.3 1.8

Totals 100 100 100