His excellency Sir Patrick Allen, governor-general of Jamaica has issued a stirring speech of celebration in honour of the island’s 50th anniversary of independence from British rule.
“Fellow Jamaicans at home and abroad, I greet you on this the celebration of our Golden Jubilee - fifty years as a proud and independent nation,” Allen said earlier.
“This is a time of special significance to those of us who experienced the pride and joy of August 6th, 1962.
“Today we all celebrate our accomplishments and reflect on our experiences and the lessons we have learned during these fifty years.
“We celebrate this independence with jubilation and commitment to our nation.”
The governor-general of Jamaica represents the monarch, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II.
Today, on the anniversary of independence Allen was quick to quash any unease among Jamaican.
He said: “The view that we have not really achieved anything of significance in our fifty years is as misguided and wrong-headed as is the illusion that everything is okay.
“We have our problems and our challenges, but we also have achievements which we can justifiably celebrate on this our 50th year of independence.
“Jamaicans can be proud of our democratic stability and institutions.
“We can be proud of the laws we have adopted to remove gender-based discrimination, protect the rights of workers and strengthen respect for human rights in general, among others.
“We can be proud of our internationally recognised press freedoms and of other advances in civil and political rights.”
Allen also pointed to enormous strides in the social sector on the island, with the access to health services, post-primary education and housing all priorities.
“We are renown for our cultural heritage and for various world class products and services,” he continued.
“In sports, we have stamped our dominance in spectacular and superlative ways. And at these Olympics our athletes are doing it again, to the thrill of billions of people around the world.”
Today will be a time of celebration on the island, not least following Usain Bolt’s victory in the London 2012 Olympic Games 100 metres final earlier.
Allen concluded: “In celebrating our Jubilee, we remember that the essential concept includes the embrace of justice and social equity - responding to the needs of the poor, the marginalized, and the weak and being good neighbours toward everyone with whom we come in contact.
“It is through our commitment to justice and social equity that we will deal with the challenges of corruption, greed and selfishness which have conspired to rob us of the progress we desire and deserve.”