A warm Christian greeting to all of you.
I take this opportunity to thank the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition for your gracious and generous remarks of tributes as well as the memorial plaque unveiled in Parliament to commemorate an event which is significant to so many Jamaicans – the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen.
I deeply appreciate the presence of all who have come to join Lady Allen and me in this Special Thanksgiving Service for the illustrious reign of our Queen, who has been widely acknowledged for her commitment to duty and for her remarkable service to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations. Service above self; respect for the rights of others, especially minorities; youth development and empowerment, and tolerance for the views of others, are fundamental principles upon which Her Majesty’s reign was established.
She is a tremendous model for all who are called to leadership; steadfast in troublesome time, resolute in service, unafraid to display emotion, yet poised and serene in her demeanor.
Last week, I was privileged to represent Jamaica in the four-day programme of activities in London which commemorated her Jubilee in spectacular form. In addition to the pageantry, there was memorable outpouring of love for Her Majesty from the millions of people gathered from across the Commonwealth and elsewhere.
Her Majesty, as expressed in her broadcast to the Commonwealth, felt humbled by this, which is no surprise, in view of her own commitment to place God foremost during her reign. Her Coronation prayer for God’s grace and mercy remained relevant across these past sixty years, while she herself has remained a symbol of peace, unity and continuity throughout the Commonwealth family.
No wonder, then, that to mark her Jubilee, Her Majesty requested the lighting of beacons across the Commonwealth on June 4, in expression of the hope for peace, unity and prosperity which she wished to convey. This was an activity in which we in Jamaica participated, lighting beacons in Montego Bay, St. Ann’s Bay, Port Antonio and Kingston. We thank the Jamaica Defence Force, the Caribbean Maritime Institute, the Governor-General’s Secretary, the Custos of Kingston and all others who made this possible.
Yet even amidst the celebrations, there was a hint of sadness caused by the illness and hospitalization of her Consort of sixty four years, HRH Prince Philip, who marks his 91st birthday today. We thank God that He has graciously healed him and that Her Majesty, Prince Philip and other members of the Royal Family will continue to be blessed by Him.
In 2002 The Queen reminded us that anniversaries were “moments to reflect on what has gone before and to rededicate ourselves with determination and confidence to all that lie ahead”. She called on us “to remind ourselves of the honour, the pride and pleasure of giving service to this country and Jamaicans everywhere”. Even now in her Diamond Jubilee year, these words remain so relevant to us.
Her own visits to Jamaica, as well as those by other members of the Royal Family, the most recent being that of Prince Harry in the context of the Jubilee celebrations, have demonstrated the warm regard which The Queen has for us.
She has re-dedicated herself to service and has expressed the hope that the power of togetherness, strength of family, friendship and goodwill to others will be the hallmark of all our relationships throughout the Commonwealth. I echo that hope and prayer for our beloved Jamaica.
On behalf of all Jamaica I again extend best wishes to Her Majesty The Queen as she celebrates her Diamond Jubilee and pray for her and the Royal Family her Coronation Prayer, for God’s grace and mercy in the years ahead.
God save the Queen and God bless Jamaica land we love.