Challenges ahead on Jamaica’s 48th anniversary
GOVERNOR General Sir Patrick Allen says Jamaica is still faced with many daunting prospects, among them the global economic situation which continues to haunt the nation, which today celebrates the 48th anniversary of independence.
But despite the challenges Sir Patrick said the valiant attempts to address the problems facing the nation appear to be bearing fruit.
“We are acutely conscious of the need for restoration and healing as we continue our quest for justice, unity, peace and prosperity. It will require great courage and moral fortitude from each of us to stand against what is wrong within our nation and within ourselves, and to stand for what is right,” Sir Patrick said in his independence message.
The nation’s children and youth, said the governor general, are resources that must be protected, socialised and trained to be worthwhile persons and valuable citizens.
He added that while Jamaica’s journey over the past year has been interesting with its highs and lows, there has been positive strides in repairing, reconstructing, and rebuilding the damage.
“The faith of some of our people may have been shaken by the turbulence in our country, but better yet, we have seen the collective will of our leaders and people to stand together when it matters, and with the help of the Almighty, still the storm,” Sir Patrick said.
The anniversary of the nation’s independence, said the head of state, allows an opportunity for reflection, renewal and recommitment to the ongoing task of nation-building.
“We have the ability to change our nation and the world. Let us seize the day and resolve that we will not give in to despair and hopelessness,” he said.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding, in his Independence Day message, said Jamaica has come a long way over these 48 years but while much has been accomplished the dream of independence has not yet been fulfilled as much more remains to be done.
“We have made mistakes along the way. There were times when we took the wrong turn and there were many opportunities that we missed,” he said.
Despite the external forces and influence, Golding said the future and fortunes lie in the hands of Jamaicans.
“As we celebrate our 48th anniversary, let us recommit ourselves to that task. Let us demonstrate the will and energy to make up the lost ground, fill the gaps that have been left behind, overcome the challenges that face us and go forward to break new ground and conquer new frontiers for the spirit of independence can never die,” Golding said.
He noted that it was a memorable night 48 years ago when the Union Jack was respectfully lowered and the Black, Green and Gold hoisted as a symbol of Jamaica’s nationhood.
“With that flag was also raised our hopes and expectations as a people,” he said.
Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller, in her message, said each step along the path to becoming a ‘full free’ and independent nation represents progressive victories won by a determined people who refused to give up or to be deterred by what appeared to be insurmountable obstacles.
Independence, she said, is not to be seen as a single event.
“It is part of the unending task of building a nation that exemplifies tolerance, decency, respect and unity,” according to Simpson Miller.
She called on Jamaicans to draw strength from the energies of the thousands of Jamaicans who participated in and witnessed the first Independence Day celebration.
“We must continue to fuel our journey toward national development by the great pride felt by all when the Black, Green and Gold of our National Flag was unfurled for the first time,” she said.
Jamaica, said Simpson Miller, is a great nation with men and women who have made the country proud through their invaluable contributions in the fields of sport, science research and academics, agriculture, medicine, architecture, engineering, aviation, music and the creative arts and information technology.