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Jamaica has much for which we ought to be thankful. We have a fruitful and beautiful land, and our people have a resourcefulness, vitality and warmth that cannot be matched anywhere in the world.
Over the years, I have seen phenomenal developments in housing, road infrastructure, education, land reform, health and international diplomacy. And, our successes up to this time make it imperative that we strive to improve on our economic and social accomplishments. Also, we have had some monumental achievements in the fields of education, politics, business, sports, science, music and entertainment. I firmly believe that our country will produce many more people of the calibre of Marcus Garvey, Norman Manley, Alexander Bustamante, Michael Lee Chin, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, John Issa, Bob Marley, Herbert McKinley, Asafa Powell, Cecil Baugh and Rex Nettleford, to name a few.
The New Dimension
I believe that Jamaica is about to enter a new dimension – a new dimension in leadership, economic growth, social and environmental development and certainly, a new dimension in our levels of innovativeness and creative expression.
We cannot deny that in recent times the soul of our society has been affected by crime and violence. Therefore we must identify a new determination so that each one of us, no matter our age and social standing, will commit to removing this scourge from our midst.
Chequered as our history is, our experiences are such that we have never lacked courage. We have striven to identify truth and goodness, understanding and mercy. Consequently, we have an endowment of resources that should give us the empowerment to create an exemplary society.
Spirituality
During my years as Governor-General, I have been able to watch with pleasure the commingling of the races which demonstrates to the world that it is possible to engender harmony despite our racial origins. We cannot deny that there is religious tolerance, and that the tension among persons of different religious persuasions has been almost totally eroded.
We are living up to our motto “Out of Many One People”, and those who look on will observe that there is a deliberate effort to create what I call “Unity in Diversity”. It is this unity and tolerance that I am depending on to dissipate anger and ill-will, and to create the atmosphere for a holistic development of the nation. We must not forget that everyone must play his part as a volunteer so that we can achieve the utmost.
New Governor-General
Today, I hand over the reins as the Queen’s Representative in Jamaica to an able, astute younger man, His Excellency the Most Honourable Kenneth Hall. His scholarship, hard work, and enterprise speak volumes about his abilities. I welcome the Governor-General and his First Lady Her Excellency the Most Honourable Mrs. Hall to King’s House. I wish that your time here will be as enjoyable and rewarding as ours has been.
Service to Country
I have been able to serve my beloved country as teacher, politician, businessman and Governor-General. The road for me has been long and sometimes challenging, but overall, very rewarding.
My family has been most supportive. I must pay tribute to the great support given to me by my wife who at times has been my most severe critic, but never failing to supply the nurture that has energized me.
Thank You!
As Lady Cooke and I move on, I extend our heart felt gratitude to the people of this nation and to all who have helped us in a personal way and contributed to my office, as Governor-General, in advising and guiding me, sometimes through difficult times.
I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge that the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Government and people of my country have not only supplied my physical needs, but also have ensured that every aspect of my life received the necessary support to sustain me during the last fifteen years.
So many of you made my job much easier and I thank you for your time and your help. I know I run the risk of leaving some of you out, but I cannot help acknowledging the tremendous efforts of the King’s House Foundation, Hands Across Jamaica for Righteousness, Jamaica Homecoming, National Prayer Vigil Committee, and also the many leaders of the churches, and the government and non-government organizations.
I want to extend gratitude to the media for the high level of coverage that has been extended to me during my time in office.
To the staff at King’s House Lady Cooke and I extend our heartiest appreciation. This staff has stood by us above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the duties of this Office are performed at the highest level.
I commend them for their dedication and diligence, and am assured that they will support the new Governor-General with excellence.
I thank all Jamaicans for the great outpouring of love they have shown to me. Your love has helped to keep the hope and promise of this Office alive.
In Closing
During the last seventy years, I have been able to observe the strength and resilience of our people, and our capacities to achieve the utmost when we are inspired.
Jamaicans, never forget that we are a great nation and that we have more positives than negatives in our favour. Read our history and you will find that we are one of the greatest countries in the world and I trust that by the efforts of us all we will continue on this path. Therefore, I say, go do well, go with God.
Thank you all and may God bless you with His love, peace and prosperity.