As we reflect upon the meaning of Christmas, we are reminded that, at its core, it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. In this respect, the season creates opportunities for introspection and sharing, oftentimes in abundance. As well, coming as it does, near the end of the year, the Christmas period prompts consideration of the year past.
In the Jamaican context, 2006 has been a memorable year of achievement and loss. Perhaps the five most resonant Jamaican occurrences have been:
– the ascension of the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller to the position of Prime Minister
– the successful staging of the second biennial Jamaica Diaspora conference in Kingston
– the naming of Asafa Powell and Sanya Richards as the 2006 World Athletes of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations
– the death of Perry Henzell, writer, producer and director of the cult film classic, “The Harder They Come”
– the passing of cultural anthropologist, entertainer and icon The Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley
The appointment of our new prime minister suggests how far we have come as a nation in terms of gender equality; the convening of the second Diaspora conference breathes hope and life into the concept of Jamaicans at home and abroad working in unity to create a global community of Jamaicans while furthering the development of our nation; the recognition of our athletes as the best in the world speaks to the excellence of our human resource; and the deaths of Mr. Henzell and Miss Lou causes us to recall the significance and importance of their contributions, respectively, to spreading Jamaican popular musical culture globally, and to defining and celebrating our national identity unique linguistic culture.
Even as we consider, with pride, the achievements of our past and present countrymen, let us be inspired this season, not just by their successes but, also by the example of Christ, to make the best use possible of our talents and circumstances and to, as often as possible, give without ceasing to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Let us commit, as we enter 2007, to live in love and, as Miss Lou would say, “walk good”.
God bless you and God bless Jamaica.
C.P. Ricardo Allicock
Consul General of Jamaica