Thursday, 5 January 2017

GET UP, STAND UP: National leaders use New Year’s messages to call for unity and progressive thinking

As Jamaica enters its 55th year as an independent nation, leaders Andrew Holness, Portia Simpson-Miller and Sir Patrick Allen each used their New Year’s messages to urge Jamaicans to step up to higher moral ground, build stronger relationships and support those in power. 

BE PREPARED: For PM Andrew Holness, there’s no better time than the start of a New Year to plan for the road ahead and reaffirm the standards one wants to live up to. Delivering his televised New Year’s message earlier this week, the prime minister urged Jamaicans to do just that. “The New Year is a time for setting new dreams and making resolutions to achieve them. I encourage all Jamaicans not to be afraid to dream big and set ambitious goals. I wish for Jamaica a healthy, happy, prospect-filled, progressive and prosperous New Year.” As for the national status quo, PM Holness said his government remains committed to the “prosperity” mission. “We are very optimistic about the coming year. I know things have already started to improve,” he noted. “I know as well that after many years of false starts and broken promises, disbelief and pessimism are still widespread. But one of my commitments to you is to ensure that the poorest and dispossessed benefit in an accelerated way from the progress and prosperity that will come.” 

RISE TO THE OCCASION: During her final New Year’s message as Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson-Miller encouraged all Jamaicans to rise to the occasion in meeting the inevitable challenges that 2017 will bring. "In setting realistic goals and consistently working towards them, we guarantee our growth and development. Let us not be daunted by the setbacks or allow criticisms to defeat our Can Do spirit,” Simpson-Miller noted. “United in purpose, we must forge ahead because without unity the great promise of the New Year will ring hollow.” Unity and harmony, she emphasized, are key ingredients in building a solid foundation for the future. “Without harmony in our homes, schools, churches, workplaces, communities and society, our goals will elude us and the glorious potential of the New Year would have been wasted,” she said. Working for peaceful relationships and stepping up the fight against crime must be top priority, the PNP leader went on to remind us. “Every Jamaican must resolve to create an environment of peace,” she said. “2017 must be the year for new commitments and resources by the Government to fight crime and provide an anxious nation with the assurance of a peaceful tomorrow.” 

“Our primary focus must be to address within our homes, communities and institutions, those issues which give us the greatest chance of improving our quality of life.” – Governor General Sir Patrick Allen

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