The 6th of August 2005 marks the forty-third anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence and puts Jamaica twelve years away from its intended goal of the achievement of first world status for the nation. In the years leading up to the coming anniversary celebrations of August 2005, Jamaica has made great strides in the areas of visual and performing arts, culture, commerce, academia, international politics, diplomacy and sports. In regard to the latter, most recently, Jamaica has captured the imagination of the world with the record breaking 9.77 second performance in the 100 metre sprint by the young and mighty Asafa Powell.

Mr. Powell’s current accomplishment serves as a symbol of national pride and as a reminder of the indomitability of the Jamaican spirit. While we may not all be the glittering stars in our fields of endeavour that Asafa Powell is on the track, Jamaicans have long understood that they make a positive, life-affecting impact in whatever vocation or avocation they choose to pursue, and wherever it is that they choose to settle. Jamaica, with the help of its Diaspora, has become, over the years since Independence, an impressive force to be reckoned with.

The growing national and Diasporic recognition that the continued successful development of Jamaica requires the input of all interested Jamaicans at home and abroad has led, in more recent times, to the formation of the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation which is chaired by Professor the Honourable Rex Nettleford. This movement has also spurred the creation of the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board which has been charged with the responsibility of gathering feedback from the community with which to better inform Government on how to more efficiently and effectively address the needs and concerns of its nationals living overseas. With the continuing rapid advancement of communication technology, and the combined growth of and proximity to Jamaica of the South Florida Jamaican community, Jamaicans who reside in this tri-county area have an opportunity to influence policy in a way that redounds to Jamaica and Jamaica Overseas’ greater glory. Jamaica wishes Jamaicans to know that, no matter where they reside, they are able to make a positive contribution to the nation’s development. Furthermore Jamaica encourages its nationals who have chosen to reside abroad, for the medium to long term, to galvanise themselves, if only for the strengthening of the overseas communities. A stronger Diaspora mans a stronger Jamaica, and a stronger Jamaica means a stronger Diaspora.

May God bless Jamaica and its Diaspora as our nation turns forty three, and as we work together for Jamaica’s continued advancement.