Poll finds strong support merging Independence, Emancipation day holidays

Poll finds strong support merging Independence, Emancipation day holidays

Friday, December 04, 2020

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JUST over 60 per cent of Jamaicans surveyed support a proposal for Emancipation Day and Independence Day holidays to be merged and celebrated on the first Friday in August followed by the Monday, thereby creating a long holiday weekend, a poll commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport has found.

The results of the survey — conducted by pollster Don Anderson and his team at Market Research Services Ltd — were released yesterday.

According to Anderson, fieldwork for the survey was conducted between July 16 and 20 and involved interviews with 1,077 people islandwide, using a nationally representative sample of individuals 18 years and over. The margin of error was plus or minus three per cent.

Anderson said the poll was conducted in response to a call for the Government to consider merging both holidays, thus allowing for a long holiday weekend similar to what obtains at Easter with Good Friday preceding Easter Monday.

“Such a plan would allow civic functions on the actual anniversaries as well as celebrations throughout the new merged holiday period,” Anderson said.

The poll, Anderson said, found that 62 per cent of Jamaicans interviewed “are in support of the proposed change to the early August holidays, signifying very strong acceptance of the idea of a long holiday weekend at that time”.

The respondents, he said, gave various reasons for their acceptance of the concept, but most, 43 per cent, saw it as a means of getting a long weekend rest, while 23 per cent regarded it as an opportunity to spend more time with their family, and 11 per cent felt they would simply use it to celebrate more.

The poll found, however, that 26 per cent said they would not support the proposal, advancing a variety of reasons for their position.

Said Anderson, 34 per cent replied that these holidays are really insignificant for them anyway, therefore it does not matter what the Government does in this regard, 24 per cent said Jamaica already has too many holidays and doesn't need any more, while 17 per cent objected on the grounds that they really have a preference for the existing holidays and there is no need to change them.

The poll also addressed the issue of a proposal on the table to establish a separate national honour for Jamaica's cultural icons.

“There was virtually universal support for this concept, with 82 per cent favouring a move in this direction,” Anderson said. “Just eight per cent would be opposed to this and 10 per cent were unsure about their position on this.”

He said 47 per cent of those who support the idea see these cultural stars as iconic and believe such an honour would put Jamaica's culture on the map, while 31 per cent believe that these people deserve the award because they have contributed a lot to Jamaica.

“Seventeen per cent also indicate that this would be good because they should be recognised for their contribution to Jamaica's cultural image,” Anderson reported.

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