Soon all the celebrations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Independence of Jamaica will end, if they have not already done so. The speechifying and merrymaking and joyful posturing are, like the year itself, almost over. Soon even the great memories of the magnificent achievements of our athletes in the 2012 Olympics will fade. Soon it will be just another ordinary year in the history of Jamaica, and there will perhaps be nothing special about the 51st year of Independence.
And yet it need not have been so. This year should have been an unforgettable year in the annals of Jamaica's history. There should have been some major unforgettable event to mark the year. There should have been some major construction project that would forever testify to a bold people's reflection on their past achievements in 50 years and their optimistic hopes for the future. Unfortunately, Jamaica was not bold in its most auspicious year since 1962.
A major achievement would have been a bold new constitution to be ratified by the people in 2012. Something else that could have made a difference would have been a major building project such as the first stage of a major improvement in the city and port of Kingston. Something to make people pensive and proud. Eliminate a slum and convert it into a model neighbourhood. Build three major comprehensive high schools in Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey dedicated to the development of local leaders for the next 50 years. Or they could build a new state-of-the-art airport of which the island could be proud for the next 100 years.
Looking back, future generations of Jamaicans will wonder, with good reason, why the island suffered from an epidemic of timidity in 2012.