Jamaica continues to inspire greatness

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

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Dear Editor,

It is no surprise that everyone has the dream of travelling abroad, especially in our country, Jamaica. Everybody wants “a buss fi guh a foreign”, whether it may be the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, or even another Caribbean or African country. We all want to experience a new way of living. This was my dream from a tender age, particularly because I have cerebral palsy and there were not many facilities for people with disabilities in our country when I was a baby.

Although, as a country, Jamaica is still trying to put into place accommodations for the disabled community, there is still work to be done. When I reflect upon my growing up in Jamaica, however, there's no place I would rather call home. When strangers ask me where I was born and raised, I don't hesitate to tell them, or show off my Jamaican sticker on my power chair. They all know that I am proud of where I come from, regardless of stereotypes.

In every society there are flaws; things that make us feel as though there is work to be done. As Jamaicans, we battle with ways to stop crime, which most often result from poverty and a lack of jobs. We have improvements that could be made in education, the health care sector, a personal one would be disability reform (which I know will take full flight somewhere in our near future as a nation), and the list could go on and on as we name the problems we face as a people.

There are attributes, however, that should make us beam with pride as an island nation. When I reflect on our society's impact on the world my heart overflows with pride. My people, God has blessed us with our own sound (reggae and dancehall music), which derived from other music indigenous to our island. We have dominated the world in sports, food, dance, and we have our own unique way of communicating with each other with our Patois.

The things I'm most proud of as a Jamaican, though, are our strength and resilience. As we always say amongst ourselves, “Wi likkle but wi tallawah.” No matter how hard things might seem, we always have hope in a better tomorrow. After all, the green in our flag symbolises hope. There is always a better tomorrow.

One of the things I miss about Jamaica is our godliness. We always put Yahweh (the relational God) first. No matter how dull things might seem, everyone has faith that God will come through. I also miss the warmth of our people. In the winter months, I truly miss the golden sunshine and the simplicity of the outdoors. Jamaica has become a source of inspiration for me personally because of our willingness to succeed. My country's history is more than just a story, it's what inspires me every day to work hard with the hopes of some day giving back to the land of my birth. My heart will never lose hope in what we could become.

As we celebrate 57 years of Independence, let us not forget about the past. Great men and women strived to create a Jamaica that was envisioned to be exceptional. Let's pick up from where they left off. Marcus Garvey embedded boldness and strength. “Miss Lou” gave us a sense of pride in how we speak and express ourselves. Norman Manley worked hard to get our nation on its feet politically. From Bob Marley to Jimmy Cliff to the recent Chronixx and Koffee, from Merlene Ottey's pride to Usain Bolt's excitement. These are all ordinary people who chose to crown Jamaica with their talents and gifts, whether through politics, music, sports, or literature, and there's so much more that was not mentioned here.

Let's run ahead as one people with hope and resilience. Let us not forget about the past, but together strive ahead to create a better Jamaica.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

One love, family. One love, Jamaica!

Rene Lambert


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