The following are edited exceprts from Independence messages by the governor general, prime minister and leader of the Opposition.
Let's value and respect each other
The theme of our Independence celebrations this year, 'One Nation, One People', encapsulates the message that in spite of our differences, we must be united in our mission to build a peaceful and prosperous nation.
The world around us is characterised by divisiveness, turmoil, and uncertainties. There are threats to the physical environment [and] growing intolerance of differences related to ideology, ethnicity or culture. We are often disturbed and numbed by the flagrant disrespect for human life.
However, against these realities, we must remind ourselves that most Jamaicans represent the best of our wholesome traditions and values. Our citizens have benefited from a level of social responsibility without which our achievements would not have been possible. Our development and processes will, therefore, depend on how we build social cohesion and national unity.
Jamaica experienced varying fortunes during the past year.
There was cautious optimism about the improvement in the economy, the increasing employment rate, and the construction of the impressive road network.
However, the inability to find a permanent solution to crime and violence, the many road fatalities, and the spectre of human trafficking, have threatened to overshadow the gains we have made. We, therefore, must renew our efforts to successfully overcome these challenges and maintain our vigilance in seeking success.
At this special time, I urge you to take pleasure in the freedom preserved in our Constitution, and God’s blessings of freedom in thought and mind. Let us value and respect each other and our country.
SIR PATRICK ALLEN
'The future is looking bright'
As we celebrate our 57th year of independence, we have much to be thankful for.
Many positive things are happening in Jamaica right now.
There is no question that at long last Jamaicans can feel proud that we are using our political independence to secure our economic independence.
However, I want you to know that I am under no illusion that all is well.
Notwithstanding the great performance of the Government, there is no room for complacency; there is still much work to be done and pressing issues to be resolved.
Environmental issues are now of greater concern to all Jamaicans. And they should be, in the face of more frequent and intense droughts, shifting rainfall patterns and more frequent and intense hurricanes.
Another area of grave concern is corruption.
At the heart of the issue is that corruption deprives resources from the poor and distorts and denies prospects for prosperity.
An important part of the independence mission is to ensure that we build institutions that are transparent; meaning that they are open to scrutiny and accountable for their actions.
This administration has taken decisive steps to create a robust anti-corruption framework and build strong public institutions where corruption cannot flourish.
At 57, we are still a young nation. The future is looking bright. We have achieved much, but there is still much more to be done.
Hardships there are but the land is green and sun shineth upon us as 'One Nation, One People' under God, increasing in beauty, fellowship and prosperity!
Saluting our indomitable spirit
As we celebrate the 57th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence, we salute the patriots who built the national movement and laid the foundations of our nationhood.
Independence time also provides us with an opportunity to celebrate our culture and the achievements of our country and our people.
We should always treasure the fact that we have remained a functioning democracy.
However, despite these real achievements we must also recognise that there are still major challenges which confront us as a people and which require urgent and collective action.
We are yet to construct the kind of inclusive economy or achieve the rates of economic growth necessary to give all our people a good standard of living.
Too many Jamaicans are still earning at or below the minimum wage and barely surviving without a real stake in the land of their birth.
Despite the gains that have been made in opening up our educational system, our society is still scarred by what I call the unequal apartheid system in education.
Many of the rights acquired over the years by our workers have either not been fully achieved or are being eroded.
However, I continue to believe in our capacity and potential as a people to successfully overcome the challenges that we face.
It is that indomitable spirit that overthrew British colonialism.
It is that indomitable spirit that laid the foundations of our independence.
So, today as we enjoy this showcasing of the best of our popular culture, and welcome relatives and friends from abroad to join in this celebration, let us also use the opportunity to reflect on our journey thus far, and to ready ourselves for the task ahead.
DR PETER PHILLIPS