As we count down to Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence, The Gleaner asks some of Jamaica's most influential leaders why unity is important at this time and what it means for Jamaica going forward.
Ambassador Audrey Marks, CEO, Paymaster Jamaica Limited
As we celebrate the range of achievements that would make any young nation proud, we cannot deny the price we continue to pay for our inability to reach a consensus on vital areas of national development.
For the future, we must ensure that there is the capacity for national consensus building and social cohesion, which begin with the creative use of the education process to build the fundamentals of the 'Jamaican Dream' in the society. It is here that half of the population, in their formative years, meet for eight hours for more than 200 days each year.
This dream, underpinned by the pursuit of excellence, should encapsulate the values and attitudes required for cooperation while aiming to be the best that we can be in academics, sports, entertainment and service to country ... to be an 'All Jamaican'.
Our failure to inculcate this collective national experience has caused adults to be divided into two political tribes and socio-economic tribes of the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. Divisions distract us from who we really are and erode our prospects for national unity. Only when in greater numbers we rise above these divisions and unite as Jamaicans first will we fully realise our potential for greatness and achieve levels of development to actualise the dream of being an independent nation.
Danny Williams, chairman of Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited
First of all, regardless of our 50 years of independence, nothing ever succeeds without unity. We should all come together and be our brother's keeper. We should unite, which is important.