Sat | Nov 18, 2017

Preserve rights gained since Independence

Published:Tuesday | August 8, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) celebrates with all Jamaicans on the 55th anniversary of our Independence. As we pause to reflect on what our Independence means to us, we recall the words of National Hero Marcus Garvey: "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots." We, therefore, remember with gratitude to God Almighty those who fought both for our freedom and for our Independence as a sovereign nation.

We are the beneficiaries of their legacy as we are now living in a country where we enjoy certain fundamental rights and freedoms. We ought to remind ourselves of the caution issued by another national hero, Norman Manley, on the passage of the Jamaican Constitution in Parliament. He stated:

"It is not constitutions that preserve these rights ... . It is the spirit of the people. It is the vigilance of the people; it is the public opinion, and it is the constant awareness of itself; and it is the quality of leadership that exists."

As an independent people, we assert the right to forge our pathway as a nation. We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court in the Bain v UWI case that vindicated the professor's and, by extension, all Jamaicans right to freedom of speech.

The court decision also handsomely validates the actions of those who protested their concerns about the death of free speech at the gates of the UWI for six weeks. Like the sons of Issachar, they recognised that much was at stake and they knew what to do.

As we proceed on the course of building our nation, let us put aside greed, envy, 'bad-mindedness', and crime. Instead, let us all work hard at our occupations with the aim of being self-sufficient and also of helping our country to be independent of foreign forces who would want to exploit our economic weakness by imposing their values on us.

That they desire to continue in their propaganda and imperialist activities should be clear to us after the recent pronouncements of the US Embassy in Kingston.

Let us protect our children, the future of this nation imparting to them wholesome values. Let us work diligently and creatively. Let us think generously and honestly so that Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty, fellowship, and prosperity and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.

In so doing, we will fulfil our 2030 Vision, making Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business.

PHILIPPA DAVIES

Advocacy Officer, JCHS

jchsadvocate@gmail.com