Extend equal recognition to all ethnic groups
I am well aware that there are many front-burner issues that are understandably attracting your newspaper's attention, but I think that this issue has been sufficiently neglected by every administration post-Independence.
I agree with and support the letter written to the Jamaica Observer on July 26, suggesting that special recognition be given to the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali. I go further - in the same way we have adopted Nelson Mandela Day, among many others, the Government of Jamaica should identify a day for the celebration of the arrival of Indians in Jamaica and religious minority days respectively for all Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Rastafarians living in Jamaica. And do not forget the Chinese either.
"Out of Many One People" - these powerful words of the Jamaican motto demonstrate the basic concept of what makes us Jamaicans, and the letter writer Mr Fletcher is correct when he suggests that our motto is false. Jamaicans are a melting pot of people, whose ancestral roots reside in Africa, India, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the original inhabitants of the island itself, the Tainos, but little or nothing over these 50 years has been done to advance and empower these groups. In Jamaica, there is a strong sense of PanAfricanism, propelled by the Rastafarian movement, which has over the decades fought for acceptance in the Jamaican society, demonstrating their sense of belonging and patriotism to Jamaica and the motherland.
On the eve of our 50th year of political Independence, equal recognition must be extended to all ethnic and religious groups. I therefore call on Culture Minister Lisa Hanna to engage in a national conversation on a multicultural policy, which will promote the togetherness, recognition and strengthening of these minority groups and the integration of our peoples.