Happy 52nd Independence Day Jamaica, land we love!

Jubilant crowd at previous Jamaica Independence celebration at National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

Jubilant crowd at previous Jamaica Independence celebration at National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

By Carmen Glover

Kingston, Jamaica: On August 6, the picturesque island of Jamaica, known for late reggae icon Robert (Bob) Nesta Marley, delicious food, a lilting Caribbean accent and a cadre of fiercely proud and ambitious nationals, celebrates 52 years since the country gained it’s independence from the United Kingdom.

Jamaica's Prime Minister Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.

The feeling of pride that infuses the hearts of Jamaicans at this time of the year is boundless. Many nationals, myself included, have flocked to the island to enjoy the Independence galas, festival song contest and other entertainment activities among family and friends.

Jamaica's Minister of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Hon. Robert Dixon Pickersgill.

Jamaica’s Minister of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Hon. Robert Dixon Pickersgill.

Jamaica has nurtured sons and daughters who have excelled on the national and international stage in just about every professional category imaginable. Among the Jamaican stalwarts who inspire a devoted following and interest in the country are former U.S.A. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Colin Powell; Charlotte Hornets Assistant Head Coach and former Knick center Patrick Ewing; track stars Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

NBA Hall of Fame Center and current Charlotte Hornets Assistant Head Coach Patrick Ewing.

NBA Hall of Fame Center and current Charlotte Hornets Assistant Head Coach Patrick Ewing.

Additionally, there is U.S.A.‎ Ambassador Susan Rice who boasts Jamaican heritage through her grandparents; entertainers and activists Sheryl Lee Ralph and Harry Belafonte; musicians Shaggy and Sean Paul and many more who span the professional spectrum.

Ambassador Susan Rice is the United States National Security Advisor.

Ambassador Susan Rice is the United States National Security Advisor.

While Jamaicans have a proud history of achievements, the country still has areas that need to be addressed in order to push the island forward to sustained growth and stability. For instance, the tendency that has recently been embraced of selling off national businesses to foreign investors is distressing and does not bode well for the nation.

Jamaican Independence postage stamp from 1962.

Jamaica Independence postage stamp from 1962.

Also, the incidence of crime, an issue which has plagued the island for decades, needs a feasible solution. The fact that the country is experiencing a drought since May, prompting the imposition of a water restriction by Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill, dampens the spirit a bit.

2013 World Athlete of the Year Award winners Usain Bolt (l) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (r).

2013 World Athlete of the Year Award winners Usain Bolt (l) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (r).

Nevertheless, these are exciting times for Jamaica as it ‎celebrates 52 years as an independent nation. The country’s motto “Out of Many, One People,” resonates deeply as the genuine warmth and passion of Jamaicans shine through from the moment a visitor or returning native lands on Jamaican soil.

Popular reggae singer and Grammy Award winner Shaggy is actively involved in social issues in Jamaica.

Popular reggae singer and Grammy Award winner Shaggy is actively involved in social issues in Jamaica.

In my case, being here for the Independence celebrations after a long time away evokes a flood of pleasant memories of a carefree childhood filled with summer excursions to the beach in Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. As I retrace those steps with my family, I am grateful to be home and proud as ever of my rich heritage. Happy Birthday Jamaica, land we love!–OnPointPress.net.

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