JIS News

As we celebrate Heroes Day 2008 our country is faced with unprecedented challenges at home and abroad. Jamaica is confronted with spiralling and uncontrolled crimes particularly against our young people, the high prices of basic commodities, the threat of financial instability and the uncertainty created by the economic and financial difficulties being experienced by our major trading partners and the possibility of reduced foreign exchange generated by tourism, bauxite and remittances.
All of these challenges urgently require new ideas, new methodologies and change of our value system if we are to survive and continue as an independent country.
Yet we can draw inspiration and encouragement from the legacy of our National Heroes. Faced with similar challenges they developed a vision for Jamaica based on freedom, strong family and community values and the hope that the future would be better than the present. For these reasons they were prepared to sacrifice everything including their own lives in their relentless drive to create a Jamaica that had the ideas, the institutions and the courage and commitment to guarantee success.
Today we need the same collective efforts from our leaders and our communities and organisations in every sphere of activity – political, community, religious, cultural and financial, if we are to be worthy successors of our National Heroes.
We can draw some encouragement from the lives and contributions of those who have been awarded National Honours. We can also take pride in the achievements of our athletes and their coaches at the recent 29th Olympic and Para-Olympic Games in Beijing.
The message that our honourees and high achievers are sending is that Jamaicans possess the will, commitment, courage and willingness to make long term sacrifices that will impact positively their families, their communities and the country. Furthermore, the collective display of talent and self confidence has enhanced Jamaica’s reputation across the globe.
Heroes Day 2008 then must be used as an opportunity for all Jamaicans to work together in pursuit of excellence in building communities characterised by social justice and a determination to address the underlying causes of crime and the restoration of hope.
I am confident that we Jamaicans will succeed in overcoming the daunting challenges that we must face at present and in the future.