Happy New Year!
As we begin a new year and a new decade, I shall address you from my heart, with the hope that I can connect with the heart of ALL who still believe in Jamaica.
It is very evident, that our main goals this year must be survival and renewal. There are some significant personal and corporate decisions that we will have to make, in order to extricate ourselves from our very challenging socio-economic situation. However, inasmuch as we need to examine how we got here, we cannot spend all our time looking back; we have no alternative but to press forward.
As we forge ahead, we will undoubtedly face numerous obstacles and challenges. The very fabric of our existence will be put to the test; but I believe in the ability of the Jamaican people, and I believe we will emerge from these experiences, a stronger and better people.
I believe, the time has come when we must sincerely put Jamaica first: First above our personal comfort, gain or pleasure and first above our parochial and political agendas. For our development this has to be the year that we put aside our differences and embrace the common good. History has demonstrated that when Jamaicans unite and press forward, based on the core values on which our nation was built, success has usually been the outcome.
The problems that plague our nation cannot be solved by any one person or group of the society. We have many individuals, organizations and companies that are working assiduously and are seriously committed to the building of this nation, but we need each person, to become a part of Team Jamaica: the Team which vows to achieve the vision of making our island a safe place in which to live, conduct business and raise wholesome families.
I believe that TOGETHER, we can make it happen!
As a nation we also have a duty to play our part in the region and, the world, as we seek to advance the welfare of the whole human race. We cannot allow persons to be fearful to visit our country, or conduct business here because of the negative anecdotes and stories that are sometimes associated with us.
We have to clear the air so that when people hear the name, or see the brand, ‘JAMAICA’, they respond with pleasure, and not apprehension. They must feel reassured that our island is committed to positive development and excellence.
The character of our nation will be defined by the ability of our people to commit to a vision for our preferred future, and our determination to fulfill that vision. As Jamaicans, we must pull together and be firmly committed to extricate ourselves from the forces which seek to undermine the very source of our being. We must join hands and hearts, and work diligently to ensure that Jamaica has her pride of place in the family of nations.
This year we must also resolve to build solid families by giving greater attention to parenting a generation that will internalize and exhibit our values of respect, discipline, patience, perseverance and giving; especially the giving of ourselves in the service of others.
The character of a person resides in what he gives and not what he is capable of giving. It is when we give of ourselves that we embody the true meaning of service.
As you think about your commitments for this year, may I suggest:
1. That you seize all the opportunities that will be presented, and use them as stepping stones to leading a better life.
2. That you engage in meditation and reflection, to provide insights on how to resolve the issues which you will encounter.
3. That you conduct your business transactions with integrity, honesty and ethical soundness.
4. That you support our leaders and pray for them as well as each other.
5. That you treat each day like a gracious gift.
6. That you learn to appreciate people and things, as each has a unique purpose in the cycle of life.
7. That you look at the hope and expectation in the face of a child, and be inspired with the possibility of a brighter future.
In this New Year, I encourage all to, quietly renew confidence and trust in each other.
I wish for each person, a New Year filled with new hopes and new reasons to celebrate life.
God bless you, and God bless Jamaica.