My fellow Jamaicans. The dawn of a New Year is always eagerly anticipated. It is ushered in with much jubilation, excitement and renewed hope for success, and with us Jamaicans there is always that special flavour. Generally, it is at this time also that we review the past year and make plans for new and greater achievements over the next twelve months.
We are beginning 2012 with the election of a new government to lead us through the celebration of our 50th Anniversary of Independence. I commend the people of Jamaica for again displaying a high level of maturity, because for the sixteenth time since Universal Adult Suffrage, the democratic process has successfully been used to select national leaders.
The celebration of this 50th Anniversary is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the extent to which we have realized the high hopes and ideals which the founders of our nation had for our country. While there are aspects of those dreams that are still being constructed, in many areas, despite the many challenges, we have surpassed expectations. I believe these challenges have made us a stronger, more creative people. It is our ability to surmount these obstacles that has defined us as a people and earned us international recognition.
We have done much to be proud of so far; we have a stable democracy and have achieved significantly in many social and economic areas. This 50th year must therefore be a watershed year for reaffirmation and renewed confidence in our abilities to achieve our potentials. Others believe in us, we must believe in ourselves!
The spectre of another global economic recession brings into sharp focus the need for us to capitalize on the immense potential that exists within Jamaica and in the Jamaican people. Let us use our creative talents, education, verdant lands, warm spirit, tropical climate and water as resources that can be of social and economic value to the country. Wind, sun and water are gifts that our scientists and entrepreneurs should utilize to help us improve our economy and quality of life of our people.
Our young people represent a pool of potential and latent genius. We must continue to inspire them to believe in themselves and fulfill their God-given potential. Jamaica will enjoy prosperity and peace for another 50 years if we can achieve that objective. Their exuberance and creativity can be harnessed if they are given the right grounding in positive values at home and at school, and through youth groups and service clubs.
This New Year, our eyes will also be fixed on the London Olympics where we will again showcase our country to the world. We expect our athletes to do well and our prayers, support and kind words of encouragement will support them.
As we move forward in this New Year, let me encourage you to:
– Build back the strong foundation on which the family as a social unit was established.
– Mentor our young people and take advantage of the ‘teaching and caring moments’ that 2012 will provide.
– Let us prepare the workforce to meet the demands of the global economy through advanced training and skills development.
– Let us resolve to seize the opportunities that present themselves for us to unite in peace, love, and respect for each other.
– Let us boldly step out to meet this year with confidence, knowing that we are assured of Divine guidance and protection, therefore we can move through uncertainties with hope and emerge with optimism.
To all Jamaicans, at home and abroad, I wish for you and your families a New Year of unlimited possibilities and abundant success.