Commit to doing more for a better future
The Games of the XXX Olympiad have ended and our athletes - our sporting heroes and ambassadors - have surely made us all proud, and a proud nation we should be, especially at the height of our 50th year of political Independence.
All 50 of our athletes represented us well and proved to the world the true Jamaican character and possibility. That we were arguably the most popular team during the Olympics was by no means surprising.
We saw during the games the great potential of swimmer Alia Atkinson and equestrian Samantha Albert. We were reminded of just how great we can become in some of those non-traditional sports if we commit ourselves to supporting and preparing more of our people for those areas.
We saw how some of our more established and renowned track stars and some of those lesser known but no less outstanding athletes ran their hearts out for their country, even when they were not able to secure a medal.
We were reminded once more of how gifted we are when the likes of Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce successfully defended in style their Olympic titles, and Warren Weir and Hansle Parchment performed remarkably well, allowing our nation to capture its largest medal tally in any Olympics to date.
What a little country we are, filled with such great talent, hope and possibility! Our potential greatness is restricted not only to our sporting prowess, but in many other disciplines and areas of life.
As we embark on the second 50 years of our journey as an independent nation, a clearly defined and well-articulated national vision and action plan should allow more of us to demonstrate those Jamaican possibilities in our respective areas of life. That plan is essential to guide many more of our people to greatness, as we reposition Jamaica to become the best little jewel in the world.
We are certainly a God-blessed people and must commit ourselves, now more than ever, to embrace more of those things that unite us. We must understand that we stand to gain more by being one people, casting aside the political and other forms of divisiveness that contributed to our not being more successful or accomplished a nation during our first 50 years.
Our political and private-sector leaders must commit themselves to creating a society in which every Jamaican will be afforded the opportunity to realise that well-defined and realistic Jamaican dream. That should be the immediate focus: building the capacity of our people so as to build a better Jamaica.
That Jamaican dream should entail providing every child in Jamaica with a decent education that will prepare him to become a productive citizen. Fundamentally, the more educated and skilled a country, the less likely the country will be poor and suffer from chronic deviant behaviours.
That Jamaican dream should entail affording all our citizens, once educated and trained to internationally accepted standards, a decent opportunity to become gainfully employed with a livable wage. It should be accompanied by the building of a safer and healthier country for all the people.
We must declare a fierce war against poverty and hopelessness, and tear down that wall that has so long separated the haves from the have-nots. Our inner-city and poor rural folk must no longer be left on the periphery, but must be brought in as full participants in the plan to build that better Jamaica.
Let us not restrict our recognition of our 50th year of Independence from Britain and our athletes' outstanding performance in the recent London Olympics to the euphoria, but rather commit ourselves to a lasting legacy - to a renewed commitment to doing more for our people to ensure we have a better country for all of us in the end.
Kevin KO Sangster