Fellow Jamaicans and Friends of Jamaica, I am deeply honoured and immensely proud to extend greetings to you on this momentous occasion, the commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence.
Sixty years in a nation’s history may not immediately conjure up significant moments of historic events or remarkable achievements worthy of global attention. However, any scrutiny of our relatively short existence as a nation will surely bring to attention the Jamaican slogan “we likkle but we tallawah”, which we enthusiastically embrace and perpetually seek to inject into our personal and national endeavours.
The 6th of August 1962 will forever be etched in the annals of Jamaican and arguably, global history. Its significance is strengthened by the many struggles of our forefathers to take control and direct our own destiny, manifested in the freedom which we enjoy today.
Over the past 60 years, as a Small Island Developing State, we have demonstrated a capacity to contribute to the human family and we continue to defy expectations in many spheres, including in academia, arts and culture, diplomacy, sports, tourism, science and technology and entertainment, to name just a few. In so doing, the name “Jamaica” resonates in pioneering efforts in some of these areas, gaining plaudits in others, while at the same time becoming synonymous with great quality and high performance, much to the benefit of the nation.
The past 60 years have also taught us, that the road to success has its very own unique challenges, many of which demand our full attention and which we must confront together as a nation, if we are to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of those whose efforts form the backbone of our Jamaican society.
As we continue to strive, this historic milestone also affords us the opportunity to pause and reflect on our progress as a nation so far, with a view to recalibrating the way forward, bearing in mind current global realities and the ominous threats of climate change, narco- and human trafficking and the linkages with the small arms trade, all of which threaten to erode the gains we have made over these years. There is no denying that the COVID 19-pandemic has left an indelible mark on the global family of nations, sparing none. Despite our own setbacks, Jamaica remains resilient, with our macro-economic indicators showing a slow but steady recovery to pre-COVID levels.
We must be prepared to utilise these positive indicators to create a national platform aimed at “Re-igniting a Nation for Greatness,” which symbolises the theme for this year’s independence.
I must take this opportunity of our Diamond Jubilee to salute all Jamaicans in the Diaspora.
You remain a valuable component of our national development strategy. The country continues to benefit tremendously from your enduring commitment to the island’s development, characterised by your generosity, investment in various sectors of the economy and importantly, your strong interest in the day-to-day affairs of the country.
We hear your voices, share your concerns and value your opinions. As such, the Government is committed to ensuring that your vision for a better Jamaica becomes part of the official development plans and strategies for the future. Let us continue the journey, working together for a brighter tomorrow, for current and future generations. I am confident that with the continued support of Jamaicans in the Diaspora, we can re-ignite Jamaica for greatness. Greatness is not a destination, but an ongoing journey that unfolds each day.
I wish for all Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, a happy 60th Independence Anniversary as together, we establish new pathways and strengthen old ones in our continued efforts to achieve Vision 2030 Jamaica to make our country “the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”.
May God continue to bless Jamaica, land we love!
Ambassador Audrey Marks