Jamaica celebrates the 50th year of independence


Today, Jamaicans all around the world are engaging in joyous choruses of celebration as today marks the 50th year of Jamaica's independence. Jamaica's independence was gained in 1962 with the then Prime Minister Alexander Bustamante, leading the charge.

On the day of independence, Jamaica's first Prime Minister Bustamante explained what self-determination meant to Jamaica:

Independence means the opportunity for us to frame our own destiny and the need to rely on ourselves in so doing. It does not mean a licence to do as we like. It means work and law and order.

Since then Jamaican's have been encouraged to live up to Bustamante's adage and not waste their liberty. Despite their economical problems, Jamaican's have made many international exploits. For example, reggae's Bob Marley became a musical legend for spreading the positives vibes of Jamaica worldwide.

From modest beginnings, entrepreneur Gordon 'Butch' Stewart accumulated a net worth shy of a billion but also revitalising tourism within the Caribbean region. Finally the feats of the Jamaican athletes, in particular those of Usain Bolt's and Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce's, whom over the weekend became double Olympic champions in the men's and women's 100 metre sprint event forever securing their legacy in athletics as well as giving Jamaican's ample reasoning to kick-start the celebrations early.

Ahead of the Jamaica 50 celebrations current Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had this to say:

Independence is a long journey, and despite our challenges, I think we've done very well on balance our first 50 years. We've proven a strong and determined people. Jamaica is more than just the "brand" the world recognizes so well; it's a place of pride for the people who live here, its educational institutions, its sports achievements, its science and technology growth.

Amid the events in the Olympic Games, the Prime Minister had a positive outlook on the future of Jamaica.

Whether or not they win medals I just love them because they show that when Jamaicans want to be brilliant and good, we are the best at what we do. They represent not only Jamaica but the Caribbean - they remind us of the high hopes we all have for the next 50 years, and not just that we will pay our debt and create strong growth and development, though at the end of my tenure I hope Jamaicans will feel that kind of change happening. They inspire us to feel that when we pass the baton ourselves we'll have left Jamaica better than we found it.

Indeed, it is hoped that the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister is echoed by fellow Jamaicans across the globe who will take pride in the celebrations taking place today but also use the time to reflect on their achievements, and examine how they can progress.

Fortune Achonna