THE EDITOR, Sir:
Today, Jamaicans will celebrate the 50th year of Independence. It seems to be a period of fanfare and pageantry.
On August 6, 1962, when I was 12 years old, I was filled with jubilation, though not fully aware of the real reasons behind the whole celebrations. There was much planning in and around the small communities of Point Hill, St Catherine. Those days, people did not have the luxury of television, nor did many people have the opportunity to travel to the National Stadium. However, we celebrated the occasion with Jonkonnu, merry-go-round, maypole, among other activities. It was a time of sharing and caring.
As the years went by, I had great hope, dreamed dreams, and believed that the nation would be able to unite and succeed in our ambitions. To my dismay, this has not happened; instead, we have allowed our politics to further divide us to the point where we are more tribes, than a nation, fighting for scarce benefits and spoils.
Many of us no longer think that by the sweat of our brow we should eat bread; instead, many continue to live on handouts.
We have not been able to build our nation, maintain our communities, and foster healthy relationships. Indeed, since Independence, we have experienced some growth and development in our housing and other infrastructure, roads and better social services, but we lack the political will to stem the indiscipline and the monster of crime and violence.
Gone are the pre-Independence days when the drunk man would be removed from the wayside just in case he might have been run over by a passing vehicle or stepped on by a passer-by. Instead, we have become so cold and callous. Are we our brother's keeper, or have we lost that common touch?
Surely, as a people, we have been given the information of change, yet too many remain uneducated and poor.
As we celebrate the 50th year of Independence, may we use this time to reflect on where we are coming from, what we have done, and how we are going to chart the future for the next generation.