Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, has called on the nation to use the 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations as an impetus towards greater achievement, even as the nation reflects on the accomplishments since 1962.
“We now have a unique opportunity to look back… and reflect on the range of traditions, values, behaviour that contribute to our national identity and social and economic development. We must allow this momentum to propel us towards further growth and development, especially as we begin another cycle of nation building,” he stated.
The Governor General was speaking at the ‘Jamaica 50’ ecumenical service held on Sunday (Jan. 29) at the Webster Memorial United Church, 53 Half-Way-Tree Road in Kingston, under the theme: ‘Feel the Heart and Soul of a Nation’.
Reflecting on the theme, Sir Patrick said that at the heart and soul of the nation must be values to enable the development of a just society in which Jamaicans can realise their full potential.
“These values should always include respect for each other, honesty, hard work, forgiveness, sharing, caring and patience for each other and with each other. On these values, we think we will continue to build a great country,” he stated.
The Governor-General noted that even though Jamaica is a small nation, it is a “tallawah nation” and urged citizens to start believing in themselves and the fact that they can achieve their goals.
“We set big goals, we have great expectations and we think much of ourselves, and we believe in ourselves, others believe in us. It is time that we as Jamaicans start believing in ourselves and what we are able to accomplish,” he added, while commending the organisers of the church service for planning a “rich, warm and exciting” worship experience.
Archbishop of York, Rev. Dr. John Sentamu, who was the guest preacher, called on Jamaicans to live in unity, love their fellowman and promote true spiritual accord in spite of the differences and views on some doctrinal matters.
“Beloved Jamaicans, let your life be filled with truth, be filled with love, be filled with justice. This will give you peace and prosperity for all Jamaicans, and you will be judged as a nation by how well you treat the weak, the vulnerable, the unemployed, the young and the older people,” he said.
In her brief remarks, Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna said that it is important to highlight the achievements of Jamaicans and the historic struggles of the ancestors, noting that “our people now stand as free, independent citizens of the world”.
The Minister stated that Jamaica has given the world one of the most powerful brand, and it is fitting to thank God for what the country has achieved.
She urged all Jamaicans to be proud and commit to serving the country for the next 50 years and beyond.
Minister Hanna also commended the organising committee, and performers, including children for the successful staging of the event.
The service was organised by the Committee for the Promotion of National Religious Services in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).
During the service, scriptures were read by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and Opposition Spokesperson on Information, Public Service and Labour, Senator Arthur Williams, who represented the Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.
By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS PRO