2019 Christmas Message Her Excellency Audrey P. Marks Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the Organization of American States (OAS)
My fellow Jamaicans in the Diaspora,
I am delighted to convey warm greetings to you, as we celebrate this very special occasion; Christmas!
Our celebration of Christmas 2019 as “One Nation, One People” is, in essence, a tribute to our diverse ancestry, which constitutes Afro-descendant, Asian, European, Indian and Middle Eastern heritages.
It is also complementary to our national motto, “Out of many, one people” emphasising the fact that regardless of our origin, ethnicity, religious beliefs or political persuasion, we are one people.
It is this sense of oneness and unity that underpins our raison d’etre as a nation and our approach to celebrating Christmas, wherever we are in the world.
As a sovereign, independent nation for the last 57 years, we have much to celebrate and for which we must be thankful.
November 2019 marked the conclusion of Jamaica’s Standby Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), following six and a half years of stringent macroeconomic reforms, which have generated impressive results.
Our debt-to GDP ratio was reduced to 95%; unemployment is at a historic low – 7.8%; modest growth has been recorded for 18 consecutive quarters; consumer confidence is at an all-time high and our international credit rating has improved from “B” to “B+”, while our difficult challenge of crime and violence has seen a 22% historic decline.
Indeed, while the journey is far from over, as we continue to address peace and prosperity in order to ensure that the gains are shared by all Jamaicans, we must pause to give thanks.
As we embark on the next phase of our country’s journey, we thank you, fellow Jamaicans in the Diaspora, for the pivotal role which you have played and continue to play in helping to build a better Jamaica.
I take this opportunity to encourage you to stay the course with us.
As expressed by the Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, at the Jamaica ‘57 Diaspora Conference in Kingston earlier this year, we appreciate and value your unrelenting support towards the quest to build a more prosperous Jamaica, in which no one is left behind.
To the millions of Jamaicans and persons of Jamaican heritage residing in the United States, it is my sincere hope that you will not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas, whereby “the word became flesh and dwelt among us”.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Whether you choose to celebrate “a yaad or abroad”, “mek di Christmas ketch you in a good mood….”.
On behalf of the staff of the Embassy and the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the Organisation of American States, please accept my sincere best wishes for a merry and holy Christmas and a wonderful year of happy, new beginnings in 2020!