Today, in commemorating the life and work of His Excellency, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, patriot, humanitarian and one of the most inspirational leaders of our time, I am pleased that Jamaica will recognize his exceptional legacy by committing 67 minutes of our time in service to others, especially our children, who are the focus of our observation of this Day.

The tremendous contribution of this unique soul, who struggled for justice and equality for all persons regardless of race or creed, should inspire us to emulate his tenacity, fixity of purpose and deep regard for the dignity of the human person. Nelson Mandela showed to the world that it is not “the station” to which you are born which is important, but how you treat the precious gift of life, and in so doing use that gift to ensure that the world is a better place for your being there.

[Related Story: Jamaica to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day July 18, by giving to children]

As we celebrate this, our 50th Year of Independence and contemplate the distance we have come and the ground still to be covered to achieve our developmental aspirations, Nelson Mandela provides an ideal mirror from which to view our reflection. His resilience, willingness to sacrifice home and family for the greater good of his beloved South Africa, provides us with a template to measure our contribution to the development of Jamaica and make the necessary adjustments to our service and dedication to Jamaica, Land We Love.

On this day, dedicated to one of the greats, let us salute Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and pay homage to this giant by undertaking to make our beloved country, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business, as in recognition of the theme for the Day, “we take action, inspire and make everyday Mandela Day”.

We wish the Honourable Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela continued grace, health and God’s richest blessings.


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