A testing time

Published: Thursday | August 6, 2009

Bruce Golding

My fellow Jamaicans, here at home and wherever in the world you may be. We mark the 47th anniver-sary of our independence at a time when Jamaica, like every other country, is feeling the effects of the global economic crisis. Our economy has come under severe pressure and I know that many Jamaicans are experiencing additional hardship in their daily lives.

It is a testing time for us, a test of the strength of our nation and the resilience of our people to withstand the pressures, weather the storm and position our-selves for recovery.

We have come through tough times before and Independence is an appropriate time to remind ourselves of the road we have travelled, the challenges we have had to face and the difficulties we have overcome.

Identify and prioritise

It is not difficult to identify the areas of the greatest deficit in building on our independence:

First, the slow pace of economic development and our inability to provide jobs and a decent standard of living for all our people.

Second, the weaknesses in our education system that deprive too many of our children of a good education that can make them productive and an asset to society.

Third, the lack of respect for the rights of others and the failure of our legal and justice system to adequately protect and enforce those rights.

These are the priorities that must be tackled if the dream and hopes of Independence are to be fulfilled. And they must be tackled with the same evangelical zeal with which we pursued the attainment of Indepen-dence. They may not have the same glamour or evoke the same passion as the quest for political indepen-dence. They may not pump the same adrenalin as when we were struggling against a colonial power. But their essentiality is no less commanding and their fulfilment no less important. Indeed, they are the unfinished part of the Independence campaign.

Bruce Golding

Prime Minister