As we observe Heritage Week and celebrate National Heroes Day, let us tune our minds to the strength of that inner spirit which inspired the courage in our forefathers who were unwavering in their fight against oppression. Certainly, our heritage is rooted in the accounts of the valour of our founding fathers whose courage, perseverance and moral fervour led them to fix what was wrong.
This year’s observation is even more compelling as it coincides with the 150th Anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion. I readily recall the works of Deacon Paul Bogle and George William Gordon, national heroes, who were able to oppose the post slavery regime through their gallantry in the eastern section of the island. Do not for a moment believe that our forebear’s achievements are as a result of any special endowment or super human characteristics. Their fight was founded in a solid commitment to the belief in the freedom of our people.
The theme for this year’s heritage week celebration, “Jamaican Heritage: Impacting the World,” signifies that as a people we posses unique and special characteristics that is indeed making a mark globally. It speaks to the tangible and intangible gifts with which we have been endowed. Our unique language, talented athletes, distinction in the foreign service, law and many other fields of endeavour have given us global recognition, for the right reason.
It is national hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey who reminds us in his Philosophies and Opinions that, “If we as a people realized the greatness from which we came we would be less likely to disrespect ourselves.” Let us heed those words to maintain our good reputation in the current global glare.
Let us not short-change ourselves and our nation by underutilizing our capability to do right.
Already we have impacted the world through the beat of reggae music and redefined athletics through the sheer prowess of our sports men and women over the years. It is now time for us to broaden our scope of impact that will enable us to be the benchmark of the world in other areas as we aim to attain Vision 2030; where Jamaica is “the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business. “
Each of us must realize that we have the ability to achieve this Vision only if; we embrace a national ethos of excellence and productivity to facilitate sustainable social and economic development in:
· Education & Training
· The Health Sector
· And, other key areas of society
Let us tap into our God-given potential and emulate the heroism and excellent standards of our distinguished predecessors who have forged ahead creating the path for us to follow.
Be cognizant to create a society in which honesty, respect, trust, forgiveness, tolerance, discipline, punctuality, responsibility, love, national pride, cooperation and good work ethic are upheld in every household.
As we celebrate this heritage week, let the observance be that platform through which each Jamaican keeps the promise in our pledge to “play our part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.”
Happy Heritage Week!