My fellow Jamaicans and Friends of Jamaica,
We begin each year with the joys, burden, sorrow, or triumph of the past year still etched in our minds. That past and the way it influences us will determine how we live in the ensuing year. The questions before each of us are, how well have we learned the lessons of the past and how shall we use our failures and mistakes as stepping stones to progress in this New Year!
Today we come to this new page of our history, as individuals and as a people, having passed through a year fraught with many challenges. Yet 2012 was also a year of unforgettable achievements by fellow Jamaicans. It marked the celebration of our nation’s Golden Jubilee, as well as our exploits at the memorable London Olymipics.
Last year we recognized once again how blessed we are as a people when, despite the destruction of Hurricane Sandy in eastern parishes of the island, we were spared the full might of its fury.
I commend the Government, all individuals, groups and organizations which are rallying to their assistance and I call on everyone who is able to help, to do so as soon as possible. Being a friend and good neighbour to those in need, is a wonderful way to start the New Year.
To you, who lost loved ones in the course of last year, especially through criminal acts of violence or road fatalities, I extend my heartfelt sympathy. I pray that you will find comfort and the strength to move forward to a brighter future.
Indeed, a brighter future for Jamaica is what all of us wish on this New Year’s Day. However, some seem to be losing hope not only in their ability to achieve their dreams in Jamaica, but also in Jamaica’s ability to strengthen its economy and break the cycle of crime and insecurity. All of us need to catch the Vision of a Jamaica which is safe and prosperous.
Achieving that Vision demands collaboration at all levels. We must abandon every form of tribalism. Jamaica needs our combined ingenuity and skills for jump-starting our economic growth.
We must focus on the Vision and commit to today’s sacrifice for the success of long term goals.
We need a people:
who commit to stamping out corruption;
who collaborate with the security forces to ensure that there is no impunity for criminals and that they are swiftly brought to justice;
who unite for the protection of our children and youth and invest in their preparation for adulthood; and
who give of their best in every sector, so that production is increased and our economy strengthened.
I continue to believe that there is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica. The primary aspect of what is right with this country, is our people in whose hands rest the present challenges with their embedded opportunities.
It was Albert Einstein who said: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. But he also said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.
In my heart and mind, I have that Vision of a safe and prosperous Jamaica deeply engrained. Today, I call on all Jamaicans to be part of the transformation which will deliver the Jamaica we envision by 2030, if not before. We need to believe in our potential to achieve that national objective! I have committed myself and my Office to that end and I urge each of you to do likewise.
Now is the time for us, one people drawn from many races and cultures, to unite for the development of Jamaica. That must be our mind-set! We have a resilience born of decades – indeed, centuries – of struggle to overcome hardships. We have a God-blessed, beautiful country with a people whose hospitality is legendary. Let us share that dream together and together bring it into fruition!
Lady Allen joins me in extending our very best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous New Year to all Jamaicans at home and abroad, to our visitors and to all Friends of Jamaica.
May God bless you all. May God bless Jamaica, Land we love.
Happy New Year!