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Speech

My Fellow Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora: Greetings!

Today we celebrate the 58th anniversary of our independence and despite the difficult context and restrictions, we have much for which to be thankful. No matter where in the world we are, our hearts still swell with pride, and a deep sense of patriotism whenever we witness the hoisting of our flag accompanied by strains of the Anthem.

The commemoration of this milestone in our nation’s history, is not just for the customary jubilation and festivities, but it provides an invaluable opportunity for us to reflect and recommit ourselves to the continuous and crucial task of nation-building.

The COVID-19 pandemic which hit our shores in early March has our lives and the way we teach, socialize, work, conduct business, worship and even celebrate milestones like our cherished Independence. This however is a time of social, physical, and financial uncertainties, which easily brings to mind the expression of Thomas Paine that says these are ‘times that try men’s souls’.

I offer my sincere condolence to those at home and in the Diaspora who have lost family members, and wish a speedy recovery for individuals who have suffered the effects of this virus.

We are grateful for the swift response of the Government, especially the Ministry of Health, and its cadre of health professionals, other health providers, frontline workers, and security personnel, for providing information and resources to tackle this difficult situation so far. I also thank each one of you for exercising your ‘duty of care’ in following guidelines issued and assisting each other to get through this challenging time together.

A whole new world awaits us as we prepare to go into our 59th year of Independence. ‘How will we forge a future in which no one is disadvantaged, disheartened, or disenfranchised?’ That is the question for all Jamaicans today!

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