Editorial

The spirit of Tessanne Chin, Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce can get us through this New Year

Sunday, December 29, 2013    

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THE glorious uncertainty of what will happen in a New Year is perhaps what makes life interesting and exciting. We never quite know where the road will turn. But from the compass provided by the past year, there are some things we can be very certain of.

Every thinking Jamaican knows that 2014 will most definitely be a tough year economically. There is so little wiggle room that even with the utmost creativity and the most optimistic projections, growth will be anaemic, if achieved at all.

The debt monster is being vigorously attacked, perhaps much too late, but better late than never, as we strive to lift our people out of the perennial poverty, which is the lot of too many.

The renegotiation of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund has brought some hope that we are at last doing the right thing. The worrying thing is that too much is riding on the pact.

And yet, the really great thing about a New Year and its uncertainties is that it is a time of hope that offers the opportunity for renewal and making new starts.

There will be economic hard times but if the world economic recession begins to taper off, we might see big improvements in tourism and foreign direct investment that could bring jobs. This is all within the realm of possibility, given some favourable, if tentative signs in the United States economy.

Moreover, if the promised transshipment hub comes to fruition — it depends on what happens with the Goat Islands — we could see some relief going to the large number of jobless Jamaicans, some of whom have not known what it is to work in many years.

But whatever assistance will come to us from outside sources, our fate lies in our hands, and it is what we do as Jamaicans that will take us to the mountaintop.

Thankfully, it is here that we have our greatest advantage for bringing value-added to our development thrust. Our indomitable Jamaican spirit, which has metamorphosed into an internationally recognised and respected brand, is what will make 2014 a truly special year

for us.

Ours is a culture of surviving even the greatest odds. Survival is written into our DNA. The Jamaican people, audacious, creative, courageous, aggressive yet generous, have excelled everywhere they have called home.

The real challenge is to make that brand work for us in our island nation the way it has worked for others. We can think of two events that right now should engage our minds in a powerful way.

First, the continued dominance of the world's track meets by our own Mr Usain Bolt and Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, among our other athletes, provides us a unique opportunity to show off all that we are worth to the world, and builds the necessary confidence in our people to tackle great things.

Second, the pre-Christmas outpouring of national pride over the triumph of Miss Tessanne Chin in NBC's The Voice has reinvigorated the Jamaican spirit and united Jamaicans everywhere, giving further testimony to what can be achieved every time we work together as a nation here and overseas.

As we embark on our 2014 journey, we must keep as our central thought that only we can make Jamaica the prosperous place it should long ago have been. And let us call on the spirit of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Tessanne Chin to lift us up and give the world something it has never

seen before.

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