“The sun shineth, the land is green and the people are strong and creative” is the symbolism of the colours of the flag. Black depicts the strength and creativity of the people; Gold, the natural wealth and beauty of sunlight; and green, hope and agricultural resources.
On the eve of Jamaica’s 53rd anniversary of independence I think about my beautiful island nation and its rich, tumultuous heritage. As always we celebrate Jamaica’s beautiful, yet difficult past. We talk about how far we’ve come, and all that we’ve accomplished and yet we are constantly being caught off guard by new challenges. What of the innovation, vision and redemption of our times?
With every ounce of sentiment, patriotism and most importantly, hope I have left:
1. I thank God for our nation. For the blessing that it is.
The influence of the Jamaican diaspora grows at a rate that only half matches the sheer number of individuals of Jamaican heritage. In the past four decades our influence in sports, music, and political thought has exploded. Every corner of the globe recognizes the black, green and gold and how proud we are to be known. In an era of national pride, and renegade patriotism, our humility (in greatness) could change the dynamic legacy of our people. What if we chased after what God wants for us? Independence from mental slavery, the eradication of economic dependence, and right relationship with our Creator. New minds, new hearts and new motives.
2. I dream of the commitment of all of our resources to the future of our country (our children)
To align our motives with this commitment would change the trajectory of our history. It is all so very intertwined. With each new initiative, programme and venture let us look boldly at our children and promise them NEW things. Not borrowed things! Not old things, NEW THINGS. Let us reset the clock. If we could begin to rethink the parameters of our choices, and begin to hide the best of us (as tokens) for the next generation.
3. I desire an acknowledgement of our past, and a fervent push forward. Along with a reverent fear of the weight of our choices.
This is my third point because it is central, even pivotal to everything else. No more trading blame, and resurrecting resentment. All that we have endured has been for our learning. Our mistakes for our benefit. The next time you throw a curry goat lunch box on the garbage heap, or chuck a soda bottle out the bus window into the gully, think of the cost. So many of the choices we have made have been in total isolation, and without weighing the cost of the repercussions. That is no longer a valid excuse. We can no longer ignore the damage, chaos and havoc that is caused by our indiscipline. We’ve reaped it in every town, city and sector. From the top to the bottom, our inconsistent standards, and low expectations has mangled our vision. Do we not see that we are robbing a generation of their right to clean streets, safe homes, and a bright future.
4. I long for us to genuinely analyze the change that will be necessary to tackle the prevalence of hopelessness.
By faith, I see a new Jamaica. It will just take a lot of work. It will take a focus and resolve that perhaps we have been afraid of. A faithfulness that we have run from. A resolve that calls for transparency and accountability to each citizen, and every member of society – regardless of their social status. Our collective consciousness is reawakening, and we must not lose momentum. Let us rethink our impact on the world. Let us reclaim our country, our culture and our heritage.
5. I stand on the idea that our generation has the potential to change the course of our history.
What would it be like for us to take up our responsibilities to our nation? Could we commit to our nation, and its future in tangible, and long-term ways? I know how easy it is to run away, and to tune out — but it’s time for us to look further than just around the corner. It’s time for us to love Jamaica, unconditionally. Consider the wealth of resources at our fingertips. Consider how we have reached audaciously across the globe.
Let us truly consider the covenant we have made in our pledge. Let us rebuild, reinvest, rebrand and engage with Jamaica once again.