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MONTEGO BAY — Norman Square in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland, came alive on Saturday August 6 with the national colours and the celebratory spirit of a people, reveling in 49th years of self-government and achievement, at the annual Independence Day civic ceremony.

Under the theme: ‘The journey continues’,  the event featured performances from a number of uniformed groups, led by the Salvation Army marching band; and award-winning performances in music, speech and dance by 2011 national festival of the arts contestants.

Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, in his message, which was read by Custos of Westmoreland, Hon. Owen Sinclair said the time has come to harness, affirm and encourage the things that are right about Jamaica.

“We must, in every facet of life, accentuate the positives and discourage the negative things that are happening. We cannot afford to be destructive; we must unite to secure our success,” he stated.

He emphasised that the future of the nation was embedded in the creativity of its people, the dedication to quality service and the productive use of the natural resources given by God and nature.

Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding’s message, which was read by Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for Eastern Westmoreland, Don Foote, stated that despite the challenges, there is much for which Jamaican can be proud.

“Small, though we are, we have made a significant impact on the world.  Our music, our prowess in sports, our cuisine, our attractiveness to visitors, the respect we have earned in the important councils of the world, are among the attributes that make us a proud nation,” he stated.  

He noted that the country faces many difficulties, and some wrong turns have been made, but in going forward, Jamaicans must learn from the experiences of the past 49 years. 

“As a nation, we will not advance unless we find and unite behind a common purpose, an overarching objective that transcends all our differences and divisions,” he stated. 

The Prime Minister stated that as the country approaches 50 years of Independence, Jamaicans must resolve to do better.

“Let us remind ourselves that 50 years from now, another generation will pause to celebrate that same independence.  Most of us will no longer be around but all of us must do all that we can now to ensure that they will have much to celebrate.  That is our duty; that must be our commitment,” he stated.

Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, urged all Jamaicans to build on the strength, courage and vision of those, who laid the foundation for independent Jamaica.

“If as a nation, we strengthen our sense of nationalism and pride in our country, many of the negative behaviours that are exhibited would be eradicated.  We would act with patriotism and build our communities,” she stated in her message read by Councillor for the Frome Division, Paul Wilson.

          

By GLENIS   ROSE, JIS Reporter