Jamaica at 50: a time for reflection

Aloun Ndombet-Assamba

As Jamaica marks its 50th anniversary of independence, the small Caribbean island remembers some of its greatest achievements and looks forward to its bright future.

This year is a special one for Jamaica as we celebrate our golden jubilee as an inde­pendent nation. The government, through the Jamaica 50 Secretariat, collaborated with a number of stakeholders to organise a wide range of events for this year-long cel­ebration, including the Golden Jubilee Vil­lage, reggae concerts and dance festivals. The events culminated in a Grand Gala held at the National Stadium in Kingston, featur­ing cultural performances and the ceremo­nial arrivals of state officials.

This 50th year of independence presents us with an opportunity to reflect on our past achievements and the challenges that con­front us. In so doing, we can develop strat­egies to move the country forward, as we seek to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families, invest and re­tire. In the words of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, “the country boasts a ma­ture parliamentary system with institutions important for [the] preservation of our de­mocracy and which have been the product of bi-partisan parliamentary approach”.

Jamaica has also made significant strides in health care, achieved comparative stand­ards in infant mortality and life expectancy, made improvements in infrastructure and expanded access to education at all levels.

On the international stage, Jamaica is known for its independent and principled foreign policy. We have made major con­tributions to the Commonwealth and the United Nations – in particular, to the Se­curity Council for which we have held the presidency on two occasions.

Since our exploits at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Jamaica has been recognised as the ‘sprint capital’ of the world. The feat was repeated at this year’s Olympic Games in London. The extraordinary perform­ances of our athletes, such as Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Yohan Blake, have placed our nation at the pinnacle of sporting history.

When you take into account Jamaica’s size and population, we punch far above our weight.

About the author:

Aloun Ndombet-Assamba is High Commissioner for Jamaica


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