On August 6, 1962 Jamaica gained political independence from her former colonial ruler England. It was a time of immense joy and celebration as a new nation raised its flag, green, black and gold for the very first time at the National Stadium. Like many others who were born in the Post- Independence era we depend mainly on the history books for an account of the events which took place. It bares thought that independence, Jamaica’s Independence means different things to different people. For those Jamaicans who became of age in Post Colonial Jamaica, independence undoubtedly has a different meaning. However, regardless of the era one was born in that sense of joy, nationhood and pride one experiences living in a free country is indescribable. It is the best feeling to live in a country in which government structures and laws are crafted by those who share the same struggles. The struggle for independence was not an overnight affair but instead was a gradual process which had its genesis in the fight for Emancipation which was achieved in 1838. It can be argued that both Emancipation and Independence are inextricable linked. Jamaicans will celebrate in a number of ways; some will attend the Grand Gala at the National Stadium this evening as the culminating activity during a week of celebration and commemoration. Jamaicans living in the Diaspora will not be outdone as many will don the colours of the Jamaican flag in various mode of dressing to commemorate the 56th anniversary of our Independence. Yet, many Jamaicans will flock to the public beaches all across the fourteen parishes, while some Jamaicans will visit family and friends on this momentous occasion. We have much to be thankful for. As a people we continue to evolve and mature. The discourse is never one sided. As one colleague, Errol pointed out, “we are still control by descendants of our former colonial masters.” The decision is yours to decide how you wish to view our Independence. Jamaica 56 is a time to celebrate. I urge you all to be safe, as well as to be mindful of others who must share the public space. We also need to be reminded that it is only in re-doubling our efforts to recapture the Jamaican sense of community that the society will realize the Vision 2030 theme: Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business. Happy Independence Day!
Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues