Jamaicans from all walks of life turned out at King’s House this morning (Aug.6), where they joined the country’s leaders in celebrating the island’s 47th year of Independence.
The mood at King’s House for the National Independence Day Parade was one of celebration marked by the traditional pomp and pageantry, as the Guard of Honour went through their paces and the massed bands played cultural songs.
The bright sunshine and the gentle wind rustling the leaves around the West Lawns of King’s House seemed to be echoing the celebratory mood.
Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, in delivering his message of “I believe,’ encouraged Jamaicans to remain committed to the country.
“Rest if you must, step back from the frontline for a while if the pressure is overwhelming, and do something quieter or less demanding, but never lose your commitment to Jamaica, and never quit,” he urged.
He reminded the gathering that despite the challenges, Jamaica has come a long way in the 47 years since Independence, but said there was much more to be accomplished.
In his Independence Day message, Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, paid tribute to past accomplishments, and encouraged Jamaicans to reflect on how they could ensure a brighter future for the nation.
He said that the time was opportune to address challenges in the education and justice systems and to adjust the general values and attitudes of Jamaicans, which he said were the “unfinished parts of the Independence crusade”.
“These are the priorities that must be tackled if the dreams and the hopes of Independence are to be fulfilled,” Mr. Golding declared as he exhorted Jamaicans to recommit themselves to fulfilling the dream.
Opposition Leader, Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, used her Independence message to encourage the rebuilding of the Jamaican family as the country approaches its 50th anniversary.
“To believe in Jamaica, is a belief in the national family. We must strengthen the bonds of love, respect and peace within our own families and within the national family. All of us must honour our responsibilities as citizens relating to each other with respect,” she stated.
She described Jamaica as the “land of tun yuh hand mek fashion” saying the country has a unique opportunity to replace those things that were repressed during slavery with something worthwhile, meaningful and lasting.
Today’s celebrations at King’s House also included a speech performance by the St. John’s Primary School and a traditional quadrille camp-style dance from St. Theresa’s Preparatory School.