My fellow Jamaicans, brothers and sisters:
Today we celebrate another Emancipation Day, One Hundred and Seventy Eight years after that epic event, which ended the enslavement of Black people.
Slavery was the most reprehensible chapter of our modern history. Emancipation provided the opportunity for a fresh start.
Today we breathe the fresh air of freedom, bought with the blood, sweat, tears and lives of our ancestors. Our fore parents toiled in the cane fields and the Great Houses.
They built the nations of the Caribbean and enriched the capitals of Europe and North America.
During Slavery, our ancestors staged rebellions and fought to assert and redefine their rights as human beings. They successfully entrenched those rights forever in history.
That is why today we, and our children, are born free and can live our lives in freedom as proud members of the human race.
Emancipation, which the slaves called Full Free, was the final instalment to the ending of slavery in the British Empire.
Today, I hear the echoes of the wise words of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who told us that, quote: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” End quote.
Today, our memories return to the roots of Emancipation, for important lessons. Lessons that can help us as proud, determined people, on our journey to self-fulfilment and national development.
We cast our minds to centuries of brutal enslavement that ignited in our souls a passion for freedom and justice.
On this Emancipation Day we recall the cruelty of slavery that fired within us the deep disgust we still have for injustice of every kind everywhere in the world.
The back-breaking work of the sugar plantations fuelled our resolve to always apply our energies to working honestly for the improvement of ourselves and our families.
Today, we embrace the spirit of Emancipation that propelled our people to build all over Jamaica, free villages that developed into the modern communities we now share.
Emancipation firmly planted the seeds of political representation, and provided for many persons the sacred opportunity to serve our people.
We must work every day to help realise the ambitions of our ancestors to build a better life for all and to keep Jamaica moving forward in progress.
That is why, Emancipation Day embodies in us as Jamaicans, the spirit of resolve, resilience, perseverance and strength. These have defined the Jamaican people for several generations.
It is that spirit that keeps us going every day, willing us on, as we work steadfastly to improve our lives, our communities and our country.
Above all else, Emancipation represents the spirit of community, togetherness and responsibility. This must be the necessary glue that keeps our families, our communities and our nation safely together.
Lasting solutions to the challenges facing us can be found, in part, through the liberation of our minds and a unity of purpose. As proud Jamaicans, we must liberate our minds from the negative things that impede our progress.
Today, as we reflect on Emancipation, let us resolve to realise the hope of our ancestors. Let each one of us commit to living our lives underpinned by hard work, honesty, integrity and determination.
These were the principles that guided our ancestors. These were the true foundations of the Emancipation dream.
Have a happy Emancipation Day.
May God bless you, bless your efforts and bless Jamaica, land we love.