Jamaica has made significant strides in the areas of social and infrastructural development over the last 50 years, despite the many economic challenges, both locally and internationally, says Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.
The Governor-General was delivering the 2012/13 Throne Speech on Thursday May 10 during the State Opening of Parliament.
In the speech entitled: ‘Nation on a Mission’, the Governor-General highlighted some notable achievements since 1962 including improvements in life expectancy; access to primary, secondary and tertiary education; improved road infrastructure connecting the principal towns; and increased access to electricity and potable water.
“Of special significance is the fact that we have preserved and strengthened our democracy,” he stated.
He noted that the country’s many achievements will form a perfect backdrop for this year’s Jubilee celebrations as Jamaicans at home and abroad joined together to commemorate 50 years of political Independence.
The Governor-General said that while the celebrations will recognise the country’s progress since 1962, there will be a spirit of temperance as the government remains mindful of its limited financial resources.
“In celebration, this year, we will present a series of programmes, rich in creativity and spirit, but relatively modest in cost, in light of the limited financial resources available and the need for prudence. We shall also endeavour to create lasting memorials of these celebrations,” he said.
Additionally, Sir Patrick pointed out that despite the many strides, there is still much to be achieved as the nation moved forward into the next stage of development.
“We still have a long way to go to achieve the level of development our people deserve and expect,” he stated.
He stated that in undertaking the next stage of the journey, Jamaica will have to recognise that the rest of the world is not standing still, holding back development while waiting for the country to catch up. “Several countries which were, more or less, our equivalent in respect of economic development at the time of Independence have gone well ahead of us. We have to move forward with speed,” he declared.
He noted also that there is the challenge of rising expectations, stimulated to a large extent, by the rapid advances in information and communication technology, and more frequent travel. “There is quick, easy access to global standards and points of reference so our people are becoming more informed and more insistent on better services and on achieving a higher quality of life,” he said.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter