KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Jamaica is celebrating its 53rd year of political independence from Britain with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller calling on Jamaicans to build communities as a way of bringing the real meaning to independence.
“Let us build our communities and participate in the governance of our country. This is how we continue to build our nation. This is how we bring real meaning to Independence. Our commitment is to social justice, security and prosperity for all. We are in pursuit of economic equity and are unwavering in our commitment to the values and principles of democracy.”
She said Jamaicans need to make a recommitment to engage in “better social relations to produce peace, harmony and tolerance in our families, our communities and in our nation”.
The Prime Minister noted that independence is a time to reflect on the journey as a nation.
“A time to embrace the opportunity to chart our destiny as a people. It is a time to continue to embrace peace, progress and prosperity for all Jamaicans.
It is a time when we celebrate the solid achievements of the past decades. It is a time when we challenge every Jamaican to contribute in some way to the national good, by re-energizing the Jamaican spirit of resilience, hard work, passion, genuine love for each other and our unflinching faith for a better and brighter tomorrow,” she added.
In his message, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen urged the nation to unite and build the “bright and prosperous nation of which they dream”.
Allen said once Jamaicans are united in the struggles and objectives of the country along with divine guidance, there will be no difficulty, which they cannot overcome.
The Governor General said corruption and crime must also be curtailed, as they undermine the development of the country.
“We must end the spate of murder and violent abuse of our children. Let us believe together that we can make them safe and secure in our homes, streets and communities where they, the nation’s future will flourish. Every member of every community must assume this responsibility right now”.
Leader of the opposition, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Andrew Holness, lamented that a high national debt, and periods of low or fluctuating growth are persistent characterizations of Jamaica’s independence.
He noted that for 18 of the 53 years as an independent nation, there was close to zero growth. He said increased vigilance on the government for growth in the economy is the only sustainable way of security development.
Meanwhile, the United States says Jamaica remains a “steadfast partner and friend”.
In a statement issued as the nation celebrates its independence, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, this year has been a historic time of bilateral and regional engagement.
He noted that US President Barack Obama’s visit to Jamaica “generated great momentum in our joint efforts promoting youth entrepreneurship, economic growth, and energy security, and combating transnational crime through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).”
In support of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CBESI), Kerry said Washington is partnering with the Government of Jamaica and the private sector, to promote energy efficiency and integrate renewables into the island’s energy grid.
He noted that earlier this year, the United States advocated for greater Jamaican and Caribbean energy security and self-sufficiency, by hosting the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Dominican Republic and development partners at the Caribbean Energy Security Summit.
Kerry disclosed that the Obama administration will also sponsor a “Dialogue between Democracies” in the coming year—a series of public and academic events “advancing and deepening our vital bilateral relationship.”