A time for action: Governor General's Emancipation message
As we commemorate the 177th anniversary of a most defining moment in our history, we salute our forefathers whose agony, hardships and bloodshed gave us the privilege of this annual celebration of Emancipation.
If there is one valuable lesson to be learnt about Emancipation, it is that once we are willing to act, we become change agents. The onus is on us to realise that we are neither hopeless nor helpless in the face of individual or societal hardship. Rather, following the footsteps of our forefathers, we must believe in our ability to be the difference we seek.
Sam Sharpe seized every opportunity he could to change the society in which the large majority existed in the subhuman
conditions of slavery.
Change did not occur overnight, and even decades after Emancipation, the black majority remained oppressed. But succeeding generations saw the birth of new heroes who led the march for human rights, dignity, equality and justice.
Today, 'Jamaica, land we love' calls each of us to be heroes who will stand for the principles and values which will enable us to achieve our peace and prosperity. Our sacrifices will pay off. We will not succeed overnight, but by consistent effort, we shall reach our goal.
Together, we can free Jamaica from the modern-day issues that seek to mentally and socially enslave us.
• We must end the abuse and violence against our nation's children and return to being the kinder, caring society which we once were.
• We need to free ourselves from the bondage of an anti-informer culture that allows our country to be easy prey for criminal elements.
• The shackles of selfishness, corruption, mediocrity and negativity that have held us back must be shattered.
We dare not leave our nation's future to mere chance. In the words of the Rt. Excellent Marcus Garvey, "Chance has never satisfied the hope of a suffering people."
As our national heroes have proven, determined action is required. For it is only then that we will liberate ourselves from any bondage which impedes the achievement of Jamaica's highest potential. United in action, we can be the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.
My hope is for Jamaicans to exude the confidence and resilience that will propel us to be part of the building of a prosperous, progressive and peaceful nation.
Let us be long-distance runners on a determined path to use what is right with Jamaica to fix what is wrong with Jamaica.
Sir Patrick Allen