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The message of Emancipation is one of freedom and hope. It is about the freedom of a people to chart positive, productive and empowering national objectives, in a society that gives hope to its citizens to achieve their personal goals, support each other, and in that process, contribute to the building of a great society.
Our history as a slave and colonial society, and our evolution as a multi-racial country, speak to the ability of our leaders and citizens to rise above the indignities of bondage and embrace the freedom and hope that came with emancipation.
What then is the meaning of our emancipation? It is the triumph of the rule of law over property. It is the realization that human beings cannot be treated as property. And, in essence, with the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, Jamaican slaves were forever incorporated into the laws of this land, as persons.
With the emergence of each generation since Emancipation, our people have demonstrated their innate resilience born out of a will to excel.and have been charting a consistent course to become citizens, not only of this country, but of the world. And, that is self evident in our regional and international governmental initiatives; as well as in sporting areas, on musical stages and in educational institutions, where our people continue to excel.Therefore, as we celebrate Emancipation, we must draw inspiration from our past and apply the lessons of current experience to the building of a prosperous future. A future where freedom is enhanced and hope continues to spring in the hearts of our people.
From our past we recognize the magnitude and value of the sacrifices of founding fathers and national heroes and others, who paved the way for our right to create new villages, communicate our cultural history, shape a society and negotiate for our independence.
In the present.even as we grapple with the forces of globalization, we must celebrate accomplishments and seek solutions rather than recount problems and repeat mistakes. Let us take full command of the opportunities to make the right choices, as we develop our human capital, create sustainable institutions, and demonstrate our commitment to excellence.
So, as we look to the future, let us resolve to exercise our individual freedoms in ways which contribute to the strengthening of our communities and our country. Let each of our decisions and our actions reflect a sense of hope and the promise of a better tomorrow.