My fellow Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, Happy New Year.
This new year presents a great opportunity for us to write a new chapter in our lives, personally and nationally: a perfect time to reflect on the core values and traditions that placed us at the global forefront as the “One Love” people.
The challenges and sacrifices of the past year generated a degree of anxiety amongst our people, about the future. Many of us lost friends and loved ones, but we are grateful for the gift of life, health and family.
And even though hope is frail and faith may grow thin, we must not forget our own strength and resolve, and the pride that makes us uniquely Jamaicans.
As we proceed into 2018, we need to unite around the values and principles of:
- decency, and
so that we can truly become the prosperous nation we envision.
In our thrust to play our part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race, we have made positive marks on the global stage: setting world records; shaping cultures, consciousness and civilization.
Some of these Jamaican vanguards who readily come to my mind include: Marcus Garvey, Nanny of the Maroons, Usain Bolt, Bob Marley and Ms. Lou, exemplary individuals who have all triumphed in the face of difficulties.
That indomitable Jamaican spirit is also within all of us, reminding us that we can do great things despite the hurdles we have to overcome along the way.
I encourage everyone to participate in a national dialogue for the maintenance of our values, their restoration in some cases, and the protection of our public spaces, so that they are safe for everyone to access without harassment.
It is in this context that individuals will be able to legitimately achieve their dreams and aspirations.
I encourage those of you who are able:
- to affirm those persons who are forging ahead despite their challenges,
- to offer support to parents who are experiencing difficulties in raising and supporting their children,
- to mentor our young people – our Millennials – so that they can make decisions that will benefit them rather than hurt them, and
- to extend a ‘duty of care’ to the elderly and the disabled.
When we fulfill these obligations, we state very clearly the type of society we are, and are creating for future generations.
Since each new year offers us a great opportunity for a fresh start, let us seize the moment to renew our minds, replacing doubts and negativity with:
- honesty, and
Thus consciously living our lives with a purpose.
Lady Allen and the rest of my family join me in wishing you a healthy and successful New Year.