Fellow Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora, greetings on this the 59th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence under the theme, “Come mek we celebrate online”.
Over the past 59 years, Jamaica and Jamaicans have made great strides and overcome many struggles to become a sovereign nation with an admirable legislative framework and a unique culture, which is globally recognized.
Our history is one that speaks to experiences of hardships, prosperity, growth and determination of a people.
Some may think that political independence has not produced the expected structural changes, and that poverty and inequality have not been adequately addressed. Nonetheless, we continue the upward task of nation building to shape our destiny.
We have come a long way from our Colonial past to forge our own identity. We now enjoy several achievements which belie the country’s physical size.
- A stable democracy,
- Enlightened fundamental rights and freedoms,
- Increased infrastructural growth and development,
- Respect in the diplomatic community, among other achievements.
- The creative expressions of our arts and culture,
- The exploits of our extraordinary athletes, sportsmen and women and,
- The contributions of those in the agricultural, manufacturing and financial sectors.
Generations of Jamaicans have made our country what it is – farmers and teachers, engineers, labourers, entrepreneurs and elected leaders – people from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, pulling in the same direction, protecting Brand Jamaica, and making true our Motto, “Out of Many One People”.
For the past seventeen months, we have been wresting with the harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have experienced the debilitating effects of the virus on the lives and livelihoods and our resilience and resourcefulness have been severely tested.
I commend the collaboration between Public and Private Sector organizations that have devised strategies to minimize the effects of the pandemic on the social and economic lives of our citizens.
I thank the men and women serving in the essential services and our frontline; especially our nurses, doctors, teachers, members of the Security Forces, and those in the Disapora, who continue to make sacrifices to play their part in this health crisis.
We must continue to carefully observe the protocols of the Disaster Risk Management Act, so we can return to some semblance of normality soon.
As we recover and move forward, let us draw on the spirit that made possible many of the achievements of our forebears, and resolve to carry on the improbable experiment that began more than 50 years ago:
- Not simply declaring our principles, but living them;
- Not simply celebrating our nation, but always working to perfect it.
Lady Allen joins me in wishing you a Happy Independence. May God bless you and “Jamaica, land we love”.