The Psalmist invites us to give “thanks unto the Lord for He is good."
On this beautiful and peaceful Sunday morning, we have good reason to lift our hearts in thanksgiving for fifty years as an independent nation.
Two days ago I was in London, at the opening of the Olympic Games, cheering on our athletes and the thousands of others representing over 200 countries from around the globe.
As I watched our young, beautiful, gifted Jamaicans, led by our flag bearer, Usain Bolt, join in the colourful parade and heard the crowd’s reception, my heart swelled with both pride and a deep sense of gratitude. I quietly said to myself, Jamaica to the world.
As we move into this wonderful season of national celebrations, embracing both Emancipation Day on the First of August, and Independence Day on the 6th, I greet you with the spirit of our forefathers.
They fought and paved the way so that a young Jamaican could carry our flag at the London Olympics and also be the toast of the world.
I think of Nanny of the Maroons, Sam Sharpe, Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, George William Gordon, Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley who made tremendous sacrifices so that we can be here today to celebrate as an independent nation.
Their indomitable spirit continues to light our path into the challenges and possibilities of the future.
Today we launch the celebration of this season by remembering and giving thanks, first of all to God and for all those who have served this nation!
We celebrate our forefathers and mothers who came from different lands.
We celebrate our patriotic leaders, heroes, heroines and countless others whose courage, dedication, vision and sacrifice, have set us on a course for endurance and greatness.
Let us treasure the legacy of those who have gone before and honour the contribution of all well-meaning Jamaicans.
We celebrate their work and contribution and express our pride in their achievements.
As I sat in the stadium in London, I could not help thinking about the incredibly significant positive impact our small nation has made on the rest of the world, in fifty years. As one among the heads, the wife asked me when she saw the contingent from Jamaica and the large contingent from Canada, US and UK she turned to me and said, how such a small country can produce so many greats? And so we thank God, because our small nation has made on the rest of the world the kind of impact, in fifty years, that is amazing.
I saw so vividly the strength of Jamaica’s contribution not only to Britain, but to the world. It was demonstrated in the music, the dance, the professionals, sports, our food and in almost everything we do.
As we celebrate fifty years of nationhood, it is useful and important to be mindful that Jamaica continues to grow and develop.
There are mountains we have yet to climb and many rivers we have yet to cross. We have to build an economy that serves the needs of all our people.
We must strive to live with each other in peace, love and unity.
As we move forward, as a nation on a mission, let us never forget that we are a great people who for fifty years have achieved much. And for these blessings, we give thanks.
In remembering who we are and how far we have come, let us be inspired and strengthened to build the new Jamaica – a Jamaica that is consistently peaceful, productive, prosperous and protective of all our citizens – particularly our citizens in our beautiful garden waiting to take charge of the future, our beautiful children.
As we celebrate our Golden Jubilee, let us commit to:
– making sure that every child we encounter, feels valued;
– every worker we interact with feels respected; and
– every elderly person in our life feels secure.
– every person with disability will feel loved and secure.
At fifty, we are a nation on a mission to build the new Jamaica.
On this mission:
– we seek guidance from the Almighty;
– we draw strength from each other; and
– we will build the new Jamaica, person by person, household by household, and community by community.
The time is now. The opportunity is within our grasp. In the words of M.G, Smith, “Build now while time is burning."
As we prepare to soar to new heights of achievements, August 6, is a day we will forever remember as a nation.
It was the day that we started that journey fifty years ago to chart our own course.
At fifty years, we have come of age, and as we celebrate we can never forget those who dared to chart our course on the wings of destiny, fifty years ago, so that today we can stand as a proud, independent and strong nation.
Today in sweet Jamaica, a joyful song we raise. We count our many blessings; we lift our voice in praise. For God has brought us thus far and he still holds our hands, to bring us to a brighter day in this our native land.
May the Almighty continue to bless our land and our people and crown our efforts with success.
Contact: Communications Unit-OPM