JAMAICANS have expressed mixed feelings about the prospects for 2013 as they say goodbye to a year fraught with severe challenges, financial and otherwise.
Many had hoped that the Government would have fulfilled its promise of a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which would have opened the doors to funds from other multilateral organisations.
However, on Saturday Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips — in a update to the nation on the progress of the discussions with the lending agency — said several things needed to be resolved before a deal can be sealed.
"The period will definitely be a nervous one for me. When we look at the struggles and the challenges we (Jamaicans) faced in 2012 and the fact that we still have not been able to finalise the IMF deal I cannot help but feel nervous," Orville Levene told the Jamaica Observer Monday.
"Moving forward, one can't live on hope alone. I am not going to throw my hands in the air and give up but there is still that worrying feeling in the back of one's mind," Levene added.
Patrice Alsworthy, a vendor who sells in downtown Kingston, said she was keeping her fingers crossed.
"After all the challenges that I have faced, I will definitely be approaching the new year with prayer and hope; that's all I can do, hope and pray," Alsworthy said.
Another vendor, Venice Ann McIntyre, said she would not be daunted by the challenges of the past. "It will be joy and happiness for me," she told the Observer, noting that she would be spending more time
For Westly Collins, "the possibilities are endless".
"Well, I am thankful that I have life and with life all things are possible; but, we are still bracing ourselves for what the future holds," he said.
Winston McKenzie, who is self-employed, said he is concerned about the lack of opportunities for the youth.
"The fact that I have life is a wonderful feeling and I hope and wish that things will improve for 2013, but my biggest concern is for the youth," said McKenzie.
"Right now the level of unemployment among the youth is really high and they are the ones who I worry about most," he added.
Meanwhile, Kedeisha Cole said she was worried, but plans "to make the best of it and hope better things will come". And, Shaneika Porter, said she was hopeful.
"Things were challenging (in 2012), but I will be keeping my fingers crossed in the new year," said Porter.