2022 Independence Day Message by The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, MP Prime Minister of Jamaica

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My fellow Jamaicans, this Independence Day is especially significant; it is our Diamond Jubilee, 60 years as an independent nation. We celebrate under the theme, «Jamaica 60, Reigniting a Nation for Greatness.» While we cannot allow the current global crises of a pandemic, war, and inflation to dampen our mood, the government is mindful of the hardships our people are experiencing; therefore, our celebrations must give hope, be meaningful, and uplifting.

At 60, there must be reflection, introspection, contemplation, and prospection. As leaders, have we been good stewards of our nation? As citizens, have we been law-abiding, productive, and creative? And as a nation, have we been doing our part to advance the welfare of the whole human race? What will our story be in another 60 years?

We reflect on the unfurling of the black, green, and gold on August 6th, 1962, a glorious time filled with high hopes and great expectations, the culmination of over 450 years of struggle from enslavement to Emancipation to nationhood. As we began to chart our course on the journey as an independent nation, we would meet with many successes and nationally fulfilling moments. Still, we would also encounter real challenges on our journey.

As we contemplate our journey, we must come to grips with our pathway. We are a small island open economy, geographically at risk of natural disasters. Our history is one of struggle to secure rights and social justice, particularly for labour and land. Generally, throughout our history, our economy has never been diverse enough to absorb all our labour with meaningful wages, and we have not been resilient enough to recover quickly from shocks. Politically, we have made significant progress in developing the framework to address our social justice issues. There is no question that we have a robust political class that can generate policies and a solid civil bureaucracy to implement them efficiently. The challenge has always been to develop an economy that can support and sustain our social development ambitions while withstanding shocks.

In retrospect, it is true that, as Jamaicans, we have not always made the connection between our economic and political choices. For decades we have made political decisions inconsistent with good economic thinking, which have had disastrous social consequences. The perfect example is the build-up of the national debt over several decades. Certainly, external events such as global recessions and natural disasters would have pushed governments to borrow. Notwithstanding, we have created crises of our own, like FINSAC, or allowing inefficiently run state entities to continue without intervention which has driven up the national debt.

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LINK ORIGINAL: Jamaica Information

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