Governor General Sir Patrick Allen
My fellow Jamaicans at home and abroad, I greet you warmly as we mark the 54th anniversary of our Independence.
This is a day of celebration and reflection as we look back, but also as we look ahead and commit ourselves to the further advancement of our beloved nation.
This year, we are at the halfway point between the start of the millennium and the target year of 2030 for achieving our major development goals.
I, therefore, use this occasion to encourage you to draw inspiration from what we have achieved and move in the directions which will accelerate our progress.
We need to accept and believe that there are more positives in our history and our present profile as a people than the negatives on which we so often focus.
The time has come. Indeed, it is now that we must channel our extraordinary talents and skills, which are at every level of our society, into the drive for social and economic development with equity, justice and an increased sense of security.
We, as a people, have been tested, and we will be tested even more. But the spirit of our people cannot be broken if we come together, if we unite and put the good of the nation first above selfish ambition.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
It is fortuitous that we are celebrating our Independence at the same time that our athletes are in Rio, all set to bring glory again to this small nation, an athletic superpower.
Our athletic prowess is one indication of our excellence as a people. It is a metaphor of our distinction; a distinction manifested in our music, with us punching way above our weight, by creating a genre - reggae - which is known and revered globally, and in our vibrant culture, which has made its indelible stamp on the world in the areas of cuisine, fashion, dance, sculpture, and theatre.
That a country with a population of approximately 2.8 million can have the fastest man and woman in the world and produce an artiste - Bob Marley - whose single, One Love, the BBC designated 'Theme of the Millennium'; and whose album, Exodus, Time magazine voted 'Album of the Century' is, indeed, thrilling. We have produced world-class scientists, intellectuals, entrepreneurs and statesmen. We are a people of distinction with an illustrious history.
The fact is that we are yet to maximise our potential. That must be the mission of this generation. Independence is as good a time as any to soberly reflect on our 54 years as a nation.
Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller
My fellow Jamaicans here at home and the millions in the
diaspora, I wish you all a happy Independence.
Independence is the celebration of the best of Jamaica; our dynamic culture and the many achievements of our people.
Our people have blazed trails of success globally in many different fields. They have established Jamaica as a recognised brand and a sought-after destination.
Jamaicans are excelling as scientists, teachers, doctors, nurses, chefs, business people, engineers, musicians, recording artistes, film-makers, athletes, and in many other professions.
Our people are the backbone of our country.
On this Independence Day, I salute all Jamaicans who contribute in some way to our national life and to the stability of our nation year after year.