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MESSAGE FROM THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION TO COMMEMORATE NATIONAL HERITAGE WEEK “A GREAT HERITAGE, A GREAT LEGACY”

MESSAGE FROM THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION TO COMMEMORATE NATIONAL HERITAGE WEEK “A GREAT HERITAGE, A GREAT LEGACY”

In our long march from plantation slavery to nationhood the Jamaican people have built a proud heritage of struggle and achievement. This heritage has been built not only around the life and work of our National Heroes, but also the outstanding contributions of thousands of ordinary Jamaicans, many of whom have passed on without any appropriate recognition. It is a heritage that is underpinned by the dynamic presence of the Jamaican popular culture on the international stage and the exploits of our athletes, artistes and intellectuals.

The annual celebration of our achievements during National Heritage Week should strengthen our self-confidence and imbue our minds with our possibilities as a nation.

However, the way in which we celebrate must take into account the fact that less than five out of every hundred Jamaicans have any living memory of the 1938 Labour Rebellion, and only two out of ten were old enough to recall the achievement of independence in 1962. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we utilise creatively all the means of popular communication to inform and educate our children about the past, and the importance of this heritage as we seek to inculcate a sense of patriotism along with a knowledge of their history and traditions. In this endeavour both the classroom and the media, traditional and new, have critical roles to play.

Given the increasing size and importance of the Jamaican diaspora, it is important that the celebration of our national anniversaries involve Jamaicans at home and abroad. I have every confidence that the celebration of National Heritage Week this year will deepen our appreciation of the road we have travelled and inspire us to meet present challenges with confidence and fortitude. Indeed, let us celebrate our GREAT HERITAGE, our GREAT LEGACY.