Fellow Jamaicans, at home and abroad, I greet you warmly and wish for you a bright, prosperous and Happy New Year!
It does not seem like a year since we were ushering in 2018, but we cannot hold back the hands of time.
Last year had its fair spread of high points and low moments. In reference to the highs, we celebrated the performances of our youth- the Sunshine Girls, our Reggae Girlz, Miss Alia Atkinson our World swimming sensation.
Our scholars, led by Rhodes Scholar Mr. Chevano Baker who rose from challenging circumstances to achieve post-graduate excellence; and most recently, the first Jamaican singer to win the X-Factor, Mr. Dalton Harris.
I am sure we are all inspired by them.
We were blessed to have been spared the impact of any natural disasters, allowing for improvements in our economic situation.
Regionally, Jamaica hosted the 39th CARICOM Heads of Government, in Montego Bay and continues to make a valuable contribution to this body.
As in retrospect we consider our difficulties, we can learn from the language and civilization of the past, in keeping a balanced approach to our interventions.
The ancient Roman Emperors spoke of Festina lente- ‘Make haste slowly’ or ‘More haste, less speed’.
We need to be patient with one another, being critically supportive and analytical, rather than blindly divisive.
That reference to ‘More haste, less speed’ leads me to the troubling issue of the indiscipline on our roads.
This reality is a symptom of a more deep-seated problem in our society, where respect for rules is at an all time low.
Respect for others is too often absent; whether the ‘others’ are road users, persons in authority, customers, or our fellow citizens.
Our roadways have become sources of unavoidable death and serious injuries; leading to loss of productivity, and a strain on our health services.
We all must take ultimate responsibility.
I hope we can challenge ourselves to make a difference and save lives, livelihoods, and the economy.
As we open a new page in our lives; I encourage us all to enter 2019 with hope and confidence.
Let us make the best use of our time; make every moment count, and turn the pages on those chapters in our lives which do not tell a good story.
Let us resolve to be better persons and better citizens of our beloved country. I trust your paths will be lit with new hope, good values, and wise choices as we continue to be happy, healthy, prosperous nation we can, and ought to be.
Lady Allen joins me in wishing for you a New Year filled with inner peace, love and hope. God bless you and God bless Jamaica, land we love.