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Jamaican Ambassador to the United States of America Independence Message

WASHINGTON, DC – Jamaica now moves from the symbolic 50th anniversary of Independence into the second half of the pathway towards the century.

In the last year, the nation took the opportunity to celebrate years of achievement: we noted the accomplishments of our sporting heroes, we recalled the efforts at nation-building undertaken by leaders in both the public and private sectors, we reveled in the music of our pioneers in mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae and the like, and we celebrated the other manifestations of Jamaica’s vibrant culture and cultural diversity.

​But even in the midst of our celebration of the past, we accepted the “Jamaica 50” opportunity to look forward, for there are still mountains to be scaled. The Jamaican Independence project, as National Hero, the Right Honourable Norman Manley reminded us in 1969, must encompass not only political freedom; rather, it must also embrace the economic advancement of the Jamaican People. And in this regard, challenges remain.

Looking forward, the Jamaican State needs to develop its capacity not only to resist external economic shocks but also to tackle fully the serious problem of public indebtedness. The State must also enhance its ability to generate self-sustaining growth, even as efforts are made to ensure greater fairness and equity in the economic sphere.

​With these considerations in mind, the Government headed by the Most Honourable Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller completed this year arrangements with the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral financial institutions that are intended to lend stability to the Jamaican economy. The arrangements with the Fund, when coupled with aspects of the Government’s growth agenda, should help Jamaica to reduce some of its economic challenges in the near- and medium-term. For these challenges to be fully overcome, however, the country will need to redouble its commitment to greater productivity and increased efficiency.

​In the drive for economic and social development, Jamaica will continue to benefit from the substantial contribution of persons in the Diaspora who look to the homeland for emotional and cultural sustenance. The recently concluded Diaspora Conference and the many contributions of Diaspora groups to the country affirm yet again that the Jamaican people are determined to ensure that we find pathways to success.

​As we enter the period of Independence, may we celebrate our achievements and recommit ourselves to prosperity in Jamaica, Land We Love.

H.E. Stephen Vasciannie
Jamaican Ambassador to the United States of America

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