Jamaica’s motto is ‘Out of Many, One people.’ and a proud people we are.
“Independence means the opportunity for us to frame our own destiny and the need for us to rely on ourselves in so doing. It does not mean a license to do as we would like. It means work and law and order. Let us resolve to build a Jamaica which will last and of which we and generations to come will be proud, remembering that especially at this time the eyes of the world are upon us,“ Sir Alexander Bustamante.
Before Independence, Jamaica was ruled by the British colony and in 1958 became a province in the Federation of the West Indies. In 1962 Jamaica gained full independence from and branched out to being more independent and in control of its decisions and endeavors.
During the years we fostered a stronger economic growth and was governed by the Honorable Alexander Bustamante, Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer. Due to strong private investments in bauxite, the manufacturing industry and the agriculture sector, not to mention the tourism sector which is what majorly fuelled the growth of the country. Although there was a stark increase in the development of the country, there were issues faced and concern that the developing was not spanning to the poorer parts of the country, especially in the deprived urban areas.
Unfortunately, there was a down turn in the economy in 1970 and the People’s National Party was elected to govern the country in 1972 from the former governing party the Jamaica Labor Party. This new installed government attempted to create more policies for the country’s people, including health and education looking to a brighter future but it was short lived as the country continued to be hindered in economic growth and development. In 1980 we were forced to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to issues such as inflation, local debt, and fiscal deficits.
Emancipation which was granted to us meant that we were freed from slavery; however we were still under colonial rules and government. Gaining independence allowed us freedom to form our own government, central bank, police and military force, and parliament, make decision and budget, become organs of a patron state, join national bodies and vote in the forums of the nations we join.
One can look back and reflect to see the visions of the founding fathers and where we have reached as a people. What were our successes and achievements, and the generativity of opportunities, or whether or not we squandered those opportunities or didn’t make use of our successes? We are also to look back at our mistakes, see the juncture and examine our social, business, and governmental and analyze whether or not we should have broken away from the British colony sooner.
In the Jamaica Gleaner history papers, Sir Alexander Bustamante said that “Independence means the opportunity for us to frame our own destiny and the need for us to rely on ourselves in so doing. It does not mean a license to do as we would like. It means work and law and order. Let us resolve to build a Jamaica which will last and of which we and generations to come will be proud, remembering that especially at this time the eyes of the world are upon us.”
We have come a far way, but we still have a long way to go.
By: Alexandra Daley