More than 2,000 Jamaicans and friends of the country from across the United Kingdom (UK), packed the historic Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, London, on July 21, for the official service of praise and thanksgiving, to mark Jamaica's 50th anniversary as an independent nation.
High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Aloun Ndombet Assamba, told JIS News that she was overwhelmed by the number of people who came out to support the special service.
She said that 50 years in the life of a nation is not very long, but the country has come a far way. "Fifty years may seem like a long time for some things, but in the life of a nation, it is not very long, it is just barely one generation. We have come a far way and we have a far way to go, but we can stand proud as a country. We have influenced the world in so many ways," the high commissioner said.
"Many times, it is those of you who live outside of the country, who recognise and understand just how much Jamaica has accomplished. You have been able to look at what is happening in Jamaica and in the country where you are living, and you can feel proud of our accomplishments," she told the audience.
The high commissioner con-gratulated UK-based Jamaicans, reminding them that they first came to the UK at the invitation of the (UK) government to help build that country after the war. "So, no matter what is happening now, don't ever forget that and don't let them forget it either," Assamba said.
In a special message for the service, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, said that this celebration of Jamaica's Independence "calls us all to reflect on the past 50 years and to contemplate the years ahead."
She said while the country faces many challenges, "We are confronting them with courage, determination and the discipline necessary to regain the con-fidence and achieve the level of development desired for the peace and prosperity of the nation.
"I sense a great feeling of hope among our people and a willingness to invest in the future. We will continue to need your prayers, your involvement and your active support," Simpson Miller said.
She commended the diaspora for playing an outstanding role in the development of British society and for its continued support of Jamaica.
"You have risen above divisiveness and have sought to put Jamaica first. I am sure that your sense of national unity will be even more evident during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, as our athletes seek once again to impress the world," the prime minister said.