As we come to the end of 2008 and prepare to greet a new year, we all must take time to rejoice for the hope of life and love and plan for new possibilities. It is a time of reflection as we assess how well we as individuals, the Diaspora, and the nation of Jamaica have done. To acknowledge that, in some instances, we might have fallen short, but we have much to celebrate.
The year 2008 was an eventful one. The march to nationhood is comprised of many parts in which each positive step is a reinforcement of our ideals and each questionable step an opportunity to learn, to correct and retool for the future. We continue to celebrate and encourage, at home and abroad, achievements in sports, culture, music, education, business entrepreneurship, and voluntary works. We continue to work assiduously to remove from our nation’s path the scourges of crime and poverty.
In this past year, most significantly, we honoured with gratitude, the stellar performance of Jamaica’s athletes in the XXIX Olympiad. Our triple gold medallist and world record breaker, Usain Bolt, has gone on to be deservedly recognised as the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year for 2008. Such events have greatly uplifted our spirits. But we must also celebrate the many unsung heroes of the Diaspora who, collectively, through their associations and as individuals, demand their being counted. They maintain patriotic bonds that nurture and support Jamaica in the assistance provided in various spheres to Jamaicans most in need demonstrating true ambassadorship in the adopted homelands.
Undoubtedly, as the Prime Minister recently noted, our key industries such as tourism, manufacturing and the agricultural sector, are under great economic stress, for Jamaica is not protected from the storms buffeting the world economy. However, the required intervention by our Government is being actively undertaken as we put every necessary effort into sustaining these critical sectors. In these uniquely challenging times prioritized attention is being given to those economic, financial and social interventions that promote recovery and the well-being of our people.
We are not alone in this. The global recession is no longer a projection. All over the world, developed and developing countries alike, are wrestling with similar challenges of cause and effect quite difficult to control. We must take courage for our households, here and at home, are not immune. And, respond we must. This is not a time for uncommitted observers and argumentation without a focus on resolutions.
In this regard, the Government and people of Jamaica are fully aware of the support and encouragement demonstrated time and time again by the Jamaican community overseas who from every corner of the world to which our Diaspora is dispersed, and especially from the North American Continent, continue to contribute to nation building through personal sacrifice of resources and talent.
I am particularly grateful for the support of resources, advice and facilitation given throughout the year past to the Consulate General of Jamaica, Miami, Florida and through the Consulate to the Government and people of Jamaica. Our hope of a mutually supportive relationship is indeed being realised. But, we welcome and encourage even broader interaction and collaboration to truly achieve the objectives of promoting and protecting the interests of Jamaicans and effectively representing the interests of our Government.
As we strive for “One nation under God” let us therefore continue to join hands in service to Jamaica, land we love.
May the blessings of Christmas touch you and your families in a special way and lead to a prosperous and happy New Year.