As we stand at the dawn of 2014, we must take time to reflect on the experiences of the past year and look ahead to the 365 days of an unknown future. Today, many are making resolutions as we seek the best strategy for securing a 2014 which is happier, healthier and more productive than 2013. Others are regretting the mistakes of the past which have so negatively affected their future. In whatever situation we might find ourselves, let us embrace the start of this new year, with hope and determination to work towards our individual and national goals.
British poet Edith Lovejoy Pierce, on the threshold of a New Year, wrote:
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
Indeed, there are opportunities which we can find every day in this country:
opportunities to do our part to build peace and security;
opportunities to help restore the values of honesty, forgiveness, good-neighbourliness, respect for self and for each other;
opportunities to protect our children and help those who are in need.
There are also opportunities for personal achievement. In the past year, I was greatly encouraged by the many Jamaicans who have struggled through hard times, suffering hunger and deprivation, but they dared to dream and studied and worked to achieve their dreams. Like our champion farmers and entrepreneurs, Tessanne Chin of whom we are so proud, our entertainers and star athletes, our scientists and information and technology specialists, they know that success does not come overnight. They know and believe that we can work to turn our challenges and our difficulties into opportunities for success at the individual, national and global levels.
As we face this New Year, I hope that we shall all commit to the better attitude and approach that will put Jamaica on the path to a brighter future! I encourage each of us in our small corner to seize every opportunity to improve our lives; so we can build stronger, healthier families and safer, more caring communities for a united and productive nation.
Lady Allen and I wish for all Jamaicans at home and abroad a very happy and prosperous New Year and pray that indeed, our Eternal Father will bless Jamaica, Land we Love, and grant us true wisdom in the year ahead.