60 years on — let's be jubilant
Jamaica will celebrate 60 years of Independence this August

Marking a milestone must serve as an indicator and should call forth a time for sensible reflection. It must be a time of looking back to where we were, evaluating where we are, and committing to chart new courses from the lessons learnt. Economists will attest to the importance of historical data as a tracking tool geared at gaining key insights, and they will readily agree that such insights are essential for driving businesses.

As we reflect, I believe this principle, if applied to the understanding of marking milestones, will significantly change, for the better, the outcomes in the areas of our present existential realities, which cause us to cry out for divine intervention, brings national leaders to tears, and of which we are ashamed to speak.

Our growth and achievements as Jamaicans must be celebrated with the pomp and pageantry befitting a diamond jubilee and must include all Jamaicans at home and abroad. After all, “wi name gone abroad fram lang time and, sumtime wi proud so til wi feel like wi heart gwine burs”. I look forward to August with great anticipation.

The legacy of our people who have gone on before us, to include our heroes, have shaped who we are as Jamaicans and must be kept alive and evident in how we live and function as members of a community who understand our motto, Out of Many One People.

The common thread of 1962, in the fabric of who we said we wanted to be, must not be broken. Where it has been broken, we must again rethread the needle and keep stitching as we strive to play our part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race with God's help and guidance.

The seemingly ever-present monster of crime and violence continues to be a great threat to our existence, and we still struggle to pin down a strategy that will bring about the desirable changes. As Jamaicans, it is our responsibility to support the work of the Ministry of National Security as best we can.

I shared recently with some young folks an incident that occurred in the late '60s or early '70s in my community of birth — a tale told by my grandmother. She shared that there was a gentleman living on the street who had a car (one of few in the community). One night someone came to steal the car. On hearing the noise, the gentleman went to investigate and saw what was happening. He did not confront the thief but, rather quickly, took a short cut that took him to another area of the community and rounded up other men. These men waylaid the thief at an area they knew he had to pass. They blocked the road, recovered the vehicle, apprehended the thief, and held him until the police came.

As a child at the time of hearing the story, I found it very amusing and never understood the strongly embedded messages. These country folks understood the meaning of community. They owned their community and used the knowledge of the geographical layout to their advantage. Everyone had the interest of each other at heart and was ready to act without prodding or promises of incentive. These folks represent the Jamaica that we all must work to regain.

I implore all well-thinking Jamaicans to embrace, again, the spirit of community. If not, it is very likely that our supper will be consumed by canines. Let us endeavour to use what we have in our hands for the good of all.

Technology is at our fingertips, how can we use it to partner with our Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang? I keep hearing, “Mi nuh business wid dem”, “Dem lucky”, “Mek dem tan weh dem deh” from folks who should clearly understand that, as Jamaicans, we are all in this together. We share the same space and wherever we go on the globe, we are Jamaicans. One only need enter Jamaica in the Google search engine to get the picture — good and not so good.

What then should be our resolve in this season of jubilee? Should we not proceed with a better understanding?

The ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic has caused a shaking and a testing of our resilience, which I want to believe could be the reason for utterances and pronouncements from elected leaders, which, in instances, were uncalled for and thoughtless. I realise, though, that these unfortunate occurrences are not unique to Jamaica as I recently saw an article out of France in which a leader was accused of using divisive, vulgar language after he used a slang term to say he wanted to make life difficult for a specific group of his fellow citizens. Reactions to his chosen language included “unworthy”, “irresponsible”, and “premeditated”.

This, among other such actions and pronouncements by leaders across the globe, has caused me to question the role and function of Government and to wonder if the fundamentals of the body have changed because of the pandemic. I wonder, also, if this is part of a global script as recently I had heard a very similar pronouncement from one of our leaders here at home.

Government is necessary for the existence of a civilised society, and this I believe is a constant that must remain and be embraced by our elected officials. A civilised society is not a goal that is attained and then immortalised in a statue, it is an ongoing process that requires commitment, dedication, and great work by Government as it exercises political direction over the actions of citizens and inhabitants, guided by the rule of law.

Jamaica and Jamaicans are unique and wholesale approaches, copied from other jurisdictions, will not necessarily be the solution for what ails us. I appeal to our leaders not to resort to actions or inactions that can be construed as unworthy, irresponsible, and premeditated. Let us continue our engagements with respectful dialogue towards amicable ends for Jamaica.

As we strive to be that city set upon a hill and not a village in a valley, our work must be exemplary and our actions for the good of everyone.

Future generations must have a legacy which they will be honoured to celebrate.

mariebrown_003@yahoo.com

BY ANN MARIE BROWN

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