My fellow Jamaicans:
Happy New Year! 2017 is the year when our country celebrates 55 years of nationhood. We stand today at a place, when the challenges and sacrifices of the recent years, have given us the confidence to achieve the goals of our national development plan. We have every reason to believe, that the promise of the future cannot be undone by the difficulties of the present, because we are a resilient, creative and proud people, who have shown the world that we can do great things.
I believe that at the heart of our success lies the willingness to confront the social and attitudinal shortcomings, which stand in the way of more rapid progress than we have seen.
But we need to:
• focus our efforts on cultivating and strengthening a kinder, gentler society which reflects the best of our traditions
• constantly show consideration for others, especially the most vulnerable
• value discipline ahead of personal ease and convenience, and
• understand that we must work hard for what we need.
In the year ahead, we will no doubt still be affected by the tensions and uncertainties in the wider community of nations. But our primary focus must be to address within our homes, communities and institutions, those issues which give us the greatest chance of improving our quality of life in this Jamaican space which we are privileged to own.
We acknowledge the roles of our leaders in institutions, in business and in local and national government, and we have a responsibility to support them. We can do this best by ensuring that:
• there is free, frank and respectful communication in both directions
• we listen to each other, and
• be guided by what is best for our nation as a whole and for the future generation of Jamaicans.
Lady Allen joins me in wishing for you all a peaceful, productive and prosperous New Year.
May God bless us all and bless Jamaica, land and people we love.