As Jamaica celebrates forty-five years of Independence and its one hundred and seventieth year of Emancipation from slavery, Jamaicans the world over can reflect with pleasure and pride, upon the significance of these events and the strides which our transnational community has taken over the years.
At home and abroad, Jamaicans have excelled in innumerable areas of human endeavour, particularly in the post-Independence era. In this respect, there is, perhaps, no more dramatic, recent display of the limitlessness of our potential than that of Barrington Irving, Jr.’s recent record setting flight around the world. In June of 2007, at the age of twenty-three, Mr. Irving became the youngest person, first Jamaican and first person of African descent, to circumnavigate the globe by air, solo. This single feat of skill, determination, perseverance and faith, speaks mightily to that which comprises the essence of the Jamaican people. Certainly, Barrington’s accomplishment reminds us that we are a people possessing of extraordinary talent and focus.
However, Mr. Irving considers his victory simply as a stepping stone to his real goal of utilizing his experiences and gifts to inspire young people, particularly the disadvantaged, to consider career opportunities in the field of aviation. Even as he receives accolades for his successful adventure, his mind has already moved ahead to considering how he can make a difference in the lives of others.
In this example, every Jamaican should take inspiration and instruction. While it is wonderful to celebrate our progress and to acknowledge our positive impact upon this world, it is far more important that we contemplate how we can put our knowledge and achievements to work for the betterment of our children. In this special period of reflection upon the meaning of Emancipation and Independence, let us commit ourselves to taking personal steps towards lifting the circumstances of the least advantaged in our midst.
God bless you and God bless Jamaica.
C.P. Ricardo Allicock
Consul General of Jamaica