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What will you recall most about Jamaica 50 celebrations? Will it be the controversy that threatened to almost derail this once-in-a-lifetime occasion regarding the official Jamaica 50 song, or will it be all the successes we have had as an independent nation in all spheres of our development?
Ever since Independence, it appears as if controversy has followed the nation both on the local and international stage. These ever-present and rather frequent public disagreements have contributed greatly to retard our nation's progress. In most instances, the bickering by public officials smacks of politics and the latest disagreement over the song selection of Jamaica 50 fits squarely into that category.
At a time when all of Jamaica should be displaying oneness of spirit and patriotism as we prepare to celebrate 50 years of Independence, it is ironic that we are as divided now as we were in 1962 when we pondered the question of Independence.
The time has come for Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna and her Opposition counterpart Olivia "Babsy" Grange to meet, if they have not yet done so. We hope there will be no more public squabbles as they only serve to project both women in a negative light and reinforce the stereotype that our politicians are self-serving clones doing the bidding of their political parties.
While I understand the need for a new administration coming into office to have its own stamp of approval on certain issues, I fail to see why it was necessary for us to replace Mikey Bennett's song Find a Flag with Shaggy's Nation on a Mission. Bennett's song speaks more to the occasion with a greater Jamaican lyrical content than the song, Nation on a Mission. Maybe to overcome this embarrassing episode we should not use either of the songs and allow Jamaicans, including the diaspora, to choose the one they wish to be the official Jamaica 50 song. After 50 years of Independence we are playing politics, and what is worse, we are still washing our dirty linen in public.
As far as I know, the Jamaica 50 Secretariat is the entity responsible for coordinating the activities for our Jubilee celebrations. Jamaica 50 is a very important milestone and we should not allow anyone to derail the joy and profound happiness that such an occasion brings.
When all is said and done, the time and energy we give to the song selection for Jamaica 50 would be better spent on more important issues we face as a society in this era of global recession - issues such as the high levels of unemployment, crime and violence, improving the standards of numeracy and literacy among our pupils and creating more high school spaces to cater to the increase in the population.
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