[Washington, D.C] – My fellow Jamaicans and Friends of Jamaica, As we commemorate the 59th Anniversary of Independence of our great Nation, Jamaica, it is an opportune time for us to come together to celebrate this milestone with the usual sense of triumph and jubilation. While fifty-nine years in the life of any nation is relatively short, we have much to celebrate and even more to reflect on. We must also contemplate our progress over the past years. Jamaica, with its strong democratic principles and global influence, has long been “punching admirably above its weight.”
Alongside the rest of the world, Jamaica continues to be impacted by the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will however not be daunted in this unparalleled period of challenges. There is indeed much to be celebrated as our COVID -19 recovery efforts have been steady and consistent.
The Government of Jamaica has begun to mobilise investment locally which will help us to ‘build back better’. There are positive signs that our economy is steadily rebounding. Our tourism industry is set to welcome 1.7 million visitors by the end of 2021. Despite the challenges, Jamaica has also gone a far way in bridging the digital divide in the education sector. We owe that to the significant support of you, the members of the Diaspora and Friends of Jamaica.
On the matter of national security, the Government continues to prioritise this issue with significant investments being made in various areas. This includes: improving our infrastructure including police stations, enhancing our human and technical capacities and advancing the procurement of the necessary tools to fight crime.
Independence Celebration & Achievements
Jamaica still has the distinction of having the world’s fastest man and woman. In addition, Brand Jamaica remains internationally known and respected. These are but some of the achievements of the past year for which we ought to be justly proud.
As is customary, independence celebrations are marked with family gatherings, balls and parades. We continue to gather to celebrate the achievements of our country. Regrettably, this year, we are again called upon to celebrate in our own unique ways even as we continue to be apart. Nevertheless, this need not mean we have to diminish the flair of our festivities. As touted by the Independence theme, I invite you to ‘rally around the flag” and ‘Come Let Us Celebrate Online.”
As was the case last year, the spirit of Independence, albeit in the virtual space, remains alive and is illuminated through our individual actions. I encourage everyone to participate in the online activities being hosted both at home as well as in the Diaspora.
Importantly, let us also celebrate our collective efforts in the continued fight against COVID-19. Our health workers and other frontline workers have remained committed and continue to work tirelessly to keep us safe. We must salute these workers. We thank all the members of the Diaspora and Friends of Jamaica for their unrelenting support during this challenging time. You, the members of the Diaspora, have used your self-confidence, creativity and determination to make a home for yourselves here. All the while not turning your backs on those you left behind in Jamaica and for this, we applaud you.
Just as the black, green, and gold epitomize our past achievements and inspires future successes, let us be reminded of its true message: The sun shineth, the land is green and [we] the people are strong and creative.” It is this spirit of resilience that makes us truly Jamaican.
With this in mind, let this Independence be a day of national pride. It must also serve as a reminder of the passion for life that pulses through our veins wherever we are.
Let us all continue to unite as we all work to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, do business, raise families, and as our Prime Minister likes to add, “retire in paradise”.
Happy Independence Day to all Jamaicans!