The Gleaner NA July Special Edition

12 HAPPY INDEPENDENCE to all my fellow countrymen and women, those at home and abroad! Sixty years ago, our beautiful island of Jamaica attained its independence from the British, but continued on as a Commonwealth body. As Jamaicans, we all look for the betterment of things now and to come. We have progressed materially and socially since our Independence, showcasing our extraordinary talents in sport, art, music, education, medicine and, most recently, breaking barriers in the tech world. Unfortunately, I have mixed feelings, as we are still reminded of the poverty and major crime in our country. This struggle invades the minds and hearts of too many of our people, who have forgotten how to show love and compassion to each other. As we look forward to the next 60 years and beyond, we should work at eradicating the poverty and crime that have invaded our country. I believe that we can achieve even more amazing things if we put aside our differences in an effort to make things better. We continue to look to our leaders, especially political and religious leaders, to take action where and when necessary and appropriate. Together, we must help each other in enhancing our strength and possibilities in reducing our weaknesses and limitations. The global diaspora continues to excel and does excellent work in all fields of its endeavour. The diaspora also contributes to the country more than their fair share of commendable economic growth. It is their undying love for the betterment of this Jamaica, land we love, that drives them to these possibilities. Let us all strive for advancement in every aspect of our accomplishments. In the meantime, have a commemorative Independence celebration while preparing ourselves for more progressive and challenging tasks ahead. May God in His richest blessings continue to guide and protect us all - Jamaica, land we love! I thank you. BarbaraWilson President/Director – Caribbean Festival and Cultural Organization of PA Commissioner – Mayor ’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs, Philadelphia By Marjorie Taylor ANNIVERSARIES GIVE the celebrants the opportunity to look back over the years as they mark the dates of significant events by reflecting upon them and how these shaped their lives. Thus, it is with the upcoming celebration of Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of Independence which will be celebrated worldwide by Jamaicans on August 6, 2022. I doubt that the euphoria that gripped Jamaicans on that day on August 6, 1962 can be matched as nothing ever matches the “first” of anything. In this case, when the black, green and gold flag of Jamaica was raised, and the first note of the national anthem was played. Jamaica LandWe Love was penned by Reverend Hugh Sherlock (affectionately known as Father Sherlock, beloved founder of Boys’ Town – Jamaica). The music was composed by Robert Lightbourne and arranged by Mapletoft Poulle and Christine Alison Poulle. On reflecting upon the years since gaining Independence, as a then 14-year-old high-school girl, the challenges (not without the usual political rancor) leading up to Independence, I was excited and thrilled as Jamaica started a new chapter in its history. Jamaica had briefly become a part of theWest Indies Federation, which was not universally popular among the various islands, and thus Jamaica’s decision to become independent was decided by a referendum. “How far has Jamaica come ... really since that momentous day? The words of the anthem reflect themes such as – Eternal Father [God], prayer for the leaders and people, justice, truth ‘be ours forever’, love of country, vision, strengthening the weak, knowledge, wisdom. My thoughts today beg the question, Are Jamaicans living true to the words they sing in the national anthem? Are Jamaica and Jamaicans reflecting and honouring these values? As one who immigrated to Canada in 1969 and claim dual citizenship, there is much of which to be proud but like all countries – developed/undeveloped/“third world” - the country is faced with many challenges – even more significantly coming through the current pandemic. Jamaica still relies heavily on tourism and with the crime rate escalating this is a huge negative for the economy. There are many challenges to overcome. Some recollections seared in my memory over the past 60 years include: 1. 1962: Independence Day August 6 2. 1963: Creation of the Festival Office Jamaica - How far have we come, really? Looking for betterment with mixed feelings after 60 years PLEASE SEE JAMAICA, 20 THE MONTHLY GLEANER | JULY 31 - OCTOBER 21, 2022 | | FEATURE