My fellow Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, our visitors and our wellwishers, warm greetings to you on this the day of Jubilee! Today, we mark a momentous milestone in the history of Jamaica land we love.
Fifty years ago we embarked on a mission to exchange our status as a colony for that of independent nation. We have received congratulations and good wishes on this anniversary from all across the globe. The warm sentiment in those messages from like-minded nations, confirm the rightness of our decision to pursue the independence mission.
As a nation we have much to celebrate. Let us reacquaint ourselves with the reasons why we must celebrate this milestone of 50 years as an independent nation.
During the last 50 years the country has made significant progress:
- Jamaica has one of the most stable democracies in the world;
- We have had significant infrastructural improvement – our airports, seaports, telecommunications, and our highways;
- We have expanded and improved health care delivery and education,
- We have achieved comparable world standards in areas of infant mortality and life expectancy;
- We have charted an independent foreign policy – this was what led us to be one of the first countries in the world to impose a trade embargo against apartheid in South Africa; - and in the area of sport and music, we are the toast of the world.
Our 50th anniversary comes at a time when our athletes are participating in the Games of the 30th Olympiad in London. They are following in the footsteps of those who blazed the path to international sporting glory for Jamaica from the 1940’s until now. I say to our sportsmen and women their managers and coaches, their families, schools and their communities ; on behalf of a grateful nation I thank you.
We have come a long way in these 50 years. On this our fiftieth anniversary, let us pause for a moment. Let us take stock. Let us say a prayer of thanks. Let us celebrate our wonderful mix of cultures – Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, European and African in keeping with our motto "Out of Many One People." Most of all, let us be proud of ourselves, hold our heads high and stand tall.