My Fellow Jamaicans across the globe, Happy Independence!
I am pleased to join you in celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Independence of our beloved country, Jamaica. This is a momentous time in our nation’s history, as we acknowledge and reflect on the tremendous progress made over the past sixty years. We are also able to take account of the challenges we have navigated together on this journey, honouring the legacy of our forebears and the vision of those who were instrumental in securing our independence.
We use this period of celebration to recognize the contributions of Jamaicans at home and abroad to nation-building, and in upholding the ideals and executing the responsibilities that are associated with independent statehood.
An important expression of our independence is the responsibility we assumed for our foreign policy, which has enabled us to promote on the global stage, matters of critical importance to national development. We are proud that Jamaica continues to pursue a principled foreign policy, one in which as a Small Island Developing State, we maintain good relations with a wide range of countries and partners, to support our development goals.
I am pleased to acknowledge the vital role which you the Jamaican Diaspora play in representing Jamaica across the globe. Indeed, the deepening of engagement with our community overseas is a key plank of our foreign policy. I therefore pay tribute to the vast number of Jamaicans who reside in almost every corner of the world, and, by so doing, have extended the reach and presence of Jamaica.
The continued engagement of the Diaspora with Jamaica is a strong testament of the bond that we all feel with our homeland. Through good times and bad, the Diaspora has stood with those at home, and I sincerely thank the many individuals and organizations in the Diaspora who contributed to our response to the COVID 19 pandemic, especially in the health and education sectors. Full recovery from COVID-19 will not be immediate, but significant strides have been made and our efforts to build back better have been buttressed by the continued support.
The Biennial Diaspora Conferences have proven to be of great value, and the most recent staging of the Jamaica 60 Diaspora Conference in June this year underscored the importance we attach to harnessing the talents, resources and abilities of the Diaspora to support transformation of the economy and the society. We are also committed, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, to promote and defend the interests of Jamaicans abroad, and to give support, as sits within our mandate, to your legitimate endeavours to contribute to your countries of residence and that of your origin.
I am assured that in this the year of our Diamond Jubilee, Jamaicans everywhere will celebrate this milestone like none other, and will embrace our culture with pride as we revel in our renowned gastronomic and artistic expressions. As we observe this time of great joy, let us give thanks for the accomplishments thus far, equally aware that there is much work to be done for us to realize the Jamaica to which we aspire.
Let us continue then, to work together, to Re-Ignite our Nation to Greatness!
God Bless you all and God Bless Jamaica, land we love.
Senator The Honorable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade