My fellow Jamaicans,
This year marks a very special milestone for Jamaica and provides an ideal opportunity for us to reflect on our journey as a nation. On 6th August 1962, a new day for Jamaica was ushered in with much fanfare, anticipation and hope, buoyed by the fact that the dream of an independent country had become a reality. In the last sixty years, characterized by challenges and triumphs, we can be proud of the progress we have made, our stellar achievements as a people, and the positive impact that we have had across the world.
Under the theme “Re-Igniting a Nation for Greatness”, a large number of celebratory activities have already taken place, both at home and in the Diaspora, and there will be others during the remainder of the year. It is heartwarming to witness the national pride that has been evident at these events, demonstrating that no matter where you are, Jamaica is well-represented by your presence.
This is a challenging time and as we celebrate our Diamond Jubilee. The health and economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, social calamities, crime and violence are only some of the problems that must temper our celebrations. Many of us may have suffered significant loss and dislocation that have tested our true mettle. However, I use this opportunity to commend the Jamaican people for their responsiveness to the measures that were instituted to protect public health and safety and maintain economic activity.
This response to the unprecedented challenges demonstrates the maturity of our people and the faith we have in our nation, and is a potent reminder that it is only through working together that we can succeed in overcoming obstacles. That positive attitude will strengthen the foundation as we move forward and overcome the hurdles encountered in nation-building.
Our Diaspora is critical to national development. With this in mind, the Government has worked steadily to enhance the contribution of our nationals towards the transformation of the Jamaican economy. We are grateful to you for your patriotism and appreciate the philanthropic support which you provide including charitable assistance to families, communities and organizations whose needs were greatest. Such is the connection with Jamaica that remittances, as well as critical inputs in the health and education sectors, increased significantly at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This celebration of the 60th Anniversary of our Independence gives us the opportunity to recognize and appreciate the firm resolve and tenacity of our Jamaican people. This enduring resilience has carried us through the worst and best moments in our history. These are attributes that we possess in abundance and which will be of great benefit as we move on to navigate the years ahead. I am confident that if we continue to draw on the collective resources of Jamaicans at home and abroad, together, we can achieve all the things for which we hope.
Happy Independence. God bless you and “Jamaica, land we love!”