My fellow Jamaicans, the dawn of a new year always brings renewed hope for success. The anticipation is perhaps even greater than it was last year, given the challenges we faced in many areas.
In order for our people to fulfill their expectations, we should examine the factors both internal and external to Jamaica, which are responsible for the many issues which the country is now facing. Whatever the prescriptive measures that will be applied, we must resolve to emerge from the existing crises as a stronger nation.
If that goal is to be realized it must have its foundation in our support for national and indigenous institutions, buttressed by the values of kindness and cooperation that have served Jamaica well. In 2009 therefore, let us see how best we can strengthen our local institutions to withstand the adverse effects of globalization.
This approach requires a form of social transformation, if we are to promote a change in the attitudes of our people from a culture of giving prominence to external influences, to the realization that our indigenous resources and institutions should be preserved for the benefit of our Jamaican people.
Many families have had to pay the high social and economic costs associated with crime and violence. Others face joblessness and financial uncertainty in these harsh economic times. This is all the more reason why the transformation we seek must take place at every level of the society, in order to give everyone an opportunity to recover and rebuild.
In this New Year, let us resolve to pay greater attention to fundamental values, traditions and customs which have been the mainstay of our Jamaican society.
The New Year brings new challenges, but it also offers us new opportunities for further growth and development. Let us use the extraordinary energy we possess to accomplish what we will.
Punctuality, self-discipline, self-respect, caring and sharing with others, and devotion to country, are values which will ensure the advancement of our society.
I wish for all Jamaicans a happy, peaceful and an improved quality of life in 2009.