Forty-five years ago our founding fathers charged us to “go into the world [and] stand on our own feet and make our own way forward by hard work and discipline.” The charge is as relevant today as it was then.
Our global reach into the wider world has guaranteed recognition for our capacity for excellence in the fields of sports, intellectual pursuits and the arts, for the sterling contributions by Jamaicans in our Diaspora on both sides of the Atlantic, for the resilience and sustained sturdy application in a wide range of activities here at home, as well as for the clear evidence of efforts to attain mastery over our individual and collective lives. These are the things that make a nation of resourceful citizens great.
The problems which beset us should therefore serve as good cause for resistance to all that conspire to frustrate our efforts at caring for each other, to deprive us of the urge to sing “Jamaica land we love” or to shatter our sense and sensibility in realizing the kind of social transformation we must continue to strive towards in Independence.
Forty-five years in the life of a nation is by no means a long time, but it is long enough for us to have learned from mistakes made, from the deficits in our approaches to a better and fulfilling life and from the threatening obstacles to social peace, individual empowerment, and social growth and development.
Forty-five years in the life of our Jamaican nation have indeed made clear, the tremendous tasks that lie ahead to ensure that the mobilization of the creative energies of all our women, our youth, our farmers, our public servants, our teachers and educators, our workers – indeed, every single one of us who is willing to call this country home.
The responsibility is indeed to reposition ourselves in the modern world, stand on our own feet and make our way forward by hard work and discipline beyond these past 45 years.
I take this opportunity to invite all fellow citizens of Independent Jamaica to continue our quest for peaceful progress in our observance of democratic governance, for creative engagement on the solution of our problems, and for civilized living and spiritual wellness in a society fit for human habitation, buttressed by unity, peace and justice as its main pillars.
I wish you an enjoyable and satisfying Independence.
Kenneth O. Hall