Former Prime Minister, PJ Patterson, says the proposed abolition of the separate dates for the Emancipation and Independence days would be a retrograde step and a severe violation of Jamaica’s ancestry.

A recent Don Anderson Poll revealed that over sixty per cent of Jamaicans surveyed say they would support a move by the government to merge the Emancipation Day and Independence holidays, creating a long holiday weekend.

But the former Prime Minister says that would be a betrayal of all our efforts to promote our own identity as a people.

He says his position on the matter is not partisan.

But he’s imploring the Culture Ministry not to be what he’s describing as the ‘driver of a vehicle that takes the country in the wrong direction on a one way street’.

Mr Patterson says the decision to restore Emancipation Day on August 1 and Independence Day on August 6, was not taken lightly.

He says it emanated from a committee chaired by Rex Nettleford to examine how the country’s national symbols and observances could contribute to sustaining cultural unity and foster national values.

He says the committee recommended the reinstatement of Emancipation Day on August one, after consultations held in four parishes.