Jamaica Independence Day 2014: Messages From Prime Minister and Governor General; US Official John Kerry

The Jamaica Independence Day is on August 6, and people are celebrating the day around the world.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Governor General Patrick Allen sent out messages to Jamaicans.

“My fellow Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, I greet you on this the 52nd Anniversary of our Independence. Fifty two years since our flag was first hoisted; fifty two years since we assumed full responsibility for our national affairs. Fifty two years since that hopeful and expectant generation passed on to us the vibrancy of a dream of a new Jamaica: a Jamaica of equal opportunity for all; a Jamaica where justice would roll down like a river, and a Jamaica for which all of us could be proud,” said Miller.

“A Jamaica in which all of us could truly say, ‘This is Jamaica, my Jamaica.’  A true ownership society. A Jamaica in which all of us would have a sense of place and belonging, not just a place of abode.

“Founding Father Rt. Excellent Norman Manley put it well in speaking of his vision of this new Jamaica: ‘All efforts will be wasted unless the masses are steadily taken along a path in which they will feel more and more that this place is their home, that it is their destiny. They will then do more for it— work more, more effort, more thinking, more sacrifice, more discipline and more honesty… There is a tremendous difference between living in a place and belonging to it and feeling that your own life and destiny is bound up in the life and destiny of that place.’

“What profound words! How deeply relevant to the theme of our Independence celebrations this year: ‘This is Jamaica, my Jamaica.’ It is only when we truly internalize the view that “this is Jamaica, my Jamaica” that we can give our all to this rock.

• We have to unite for a common purpose.

• We must have a sense that we are, indeed, stakeholders.

• We have to take responsibility and be accountable for our actions.

“This is true sovereignty and independence.

“‘This is Jamaica, my Jamaica'” means that in the face of our most severe drought in recent memory, we must take personal responsibility for conserving water. We must make the necessary sacrifices. The issues we face are national and broad-based.  Because this is our Jamaica each Jamaican must own and contribute to mitigating them. A sense of personal responsibility and ownership captured by our independence theme, “This is Jamaica, my Jamaica” means that we take responsibility for our communities and help to keep them safe.

“Personal responsibility means that we look out for our neighbour and our neighbour’s children; that we protect the weak and vulnerable in our communities and take care of the elderly, the disabled, the sick and the lonely. The work that lies ahead, in staying the course with our economic programme that will lead us toward economic independence, will require not only personal responsibility but engaging human will.”

Allen added:

“As we reflect on our journey as an independent people since 1962, we know that despite the problems and hardships we have faced, we have much for which to be thankful. The bedrock of positive energy in our national philosophy derived from our Flag, Our Motto, our National Pledge and our National Anthem explains why we have kept this ship Jamaica afloat, and why we shall attain our vision for our beloved country.

“Our Flag reminds us daily that “the sun shines, the land is green and our people are strong and creative”. Our Motto reaffirms that regardless of our historic origins, our economic status, our religious and political beliefs, our gender and age, we are One People.  Our National Pledge speaks to our destiny under God, to increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity.  Our National Anthem reminds us of the source of our strength, our wisdom and vision, our direction and our protection.

“People often speak of the resilience and the indomitable spirit of Jamaicans, and we see that demonstrated time and again in: our response to natural disasters and personal tragedies; our agricultural sector, which thanks to our courageous farmers, always strives to bounce back after being ravaged by disasters and human predators; our business sector, especially the small and medium sized, which constantly seeks new ways to confront the varied challenges and remain committed for the long haul; our public sector, which recognizes the importance of transforming itself to better respond to the changing needs of our country, despite the ongoing pressure they face; our security forces, who constantly put their lives on the line in accordance with their mandate to serve and protect our people and defend our territory; our judiciary which maintains its high standard against all odds; our Media which gives Jamaica a high ranking globally for press freedom; our Governmental, Non-Governmental and voluntary organizations which devote themselves to advancing the welfare and wellbeing of our people.

“I acknowledge that in every sector there are issues which are yet to be resolved, but I am convinced of our core commitment to building a better Jamaica. This fuels my belief that there is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica. Today, as we celebrate our Independence Anniversary, I thank all Jamaicans who contribute to a better Jamaica at every level.”

John Kerry, secretary of state of the United States, also sent out a message of congratulations.

“On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I offer best wishes to the people of Jamaica on the occasion of your 52nd anniversary of independence. The United States and Jamaica share an important and thriving partnership through our mutual commitment to strong democratic governance. Our collaboration in the areas of climate change, health, security, and trade continues to benefit both our nations and the Caribbean region,” he said.

“We applaud your recent efforts to pass the Disabilities Act, which ensures equal rights for people with physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities. Our mutual efforts through the Climate Adaptation Plan, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief have made a lasting mark on the region. As you mark this day across the island, the United States remains committed to strengthening our partnership and looks forward to an enduring friendship.”

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