Happy Emancipation Day Jamaica!
Each year on August 1, we are presented with the opportunity to reflect on the heroism of our ancestors whose physical bodies were in shackles but whose minds could not be conquered.
I encourage you today to reflect on their bravery, courage, and indomitable spirit and the heritage of resilience they bestowed on us.
Our ancestors struggled against their dehumanizing treatment and with determination, strength, and dignity, fought to regain the freedom that is their birthright.
The freedom struggle gave rise to our heroes who we today acknowledge.
- Nanny who taught us determination, ingenuity and creativity; Sam Sharpe who taught us about leadership and harnessing the power of our minds;
- Paul Bogle who taught us to stand up against injustice irrespective of whether it impacts us directly;
- Marcus Garvey who taught us self-reliance and self-respect; George William Gordon, who taught us kindness and sacrifice;
- Norman Manley who taught us about advocacy and the virtues of democracy; and;
- Alexander Bustamante who taught us to believe in ourselves to become politically and economically independent.
Let us be inspired by the lives of our forebears whose freedom was won in blood through battle so that today we can enjoy freedom without fear.
Their struggle should fill us with inspiration, hope, and a strengthened resolve to overcome any challenge we face today.
Let us, therefore, honour our ancestors by showing courage and determination and fulfilling the dreams they had for us to be the liberated and prosperous people GOD created us to be.
We each have a duty to use our freedom to improve our lives, and the lives of the generations coming after us.
As we give thanks for our freedom, let us not forget to guard fiercely the freedom of our minds.
Our beloved and first National Hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey encouraged us to uplift ourselves through reading and self-education saying; “We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.”
Today, in the information age, we are being bombarded with all kinds of information, which without context and discernment, can imprison us in negativity and impact our mind, prospects and mental health.
Marcus Garvey encourages us to use our intelligence to work out the real things of life, not the imagined things, not the speculative things, not the fake things, not the perverse and sensational things, but the things that will guarantee a condition better than the one we inherited from your forefathers.
Let us, therefore, spend our time engaging in uplifting activities and consuming positive and meaningful information that will lift us and our fellow citizens up, not weigh us down.
Let us embrace a positive and uplifting mindset for the benefit of all.
This Emancipation Day, I invite you to share in my vision for Jamaica:
- A Jamaica whose young people are taking advantage of opportunities for education, skills-training, and self-improvement.
- A Jamaica where there is employment for all who wish to work.
- A Jamaica free of crime and violence.
- A Jamaica that is disciplined, respectful, kind, gentle and peaceful.
- A Jamaica where our people have prosperity and abundance.
We are an extraordinary and blessed people who have consistently realized extraordinary accomplishments.
Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of God’s plan to prosper and not to harm us; to give us hope and a future.
God has destined us for greatness, let us embrace His promise and work together as a nation for its fulfilment.
God Bless each of you and God bless Jamaica Land We All Love.