Jamaica's prime minister Andrew Holness has confirmed his attendance at Trinidad and Tobago's 60th independence anniversary celebrations, Foreign Affairs and Caricom Minister Dr Amery Browne announced on Friday.
Browne spoke of Holness' visit during a reception at Jamaican High Commissioner Arthur Williams' residence in Port of Spain for Jamaica's independence jubilee which was commemorated on Saturday.
The itinerary is being finalised and will be shared soon, Browne told Sunday Newsday in a WhatsApp message on Saturday. He added that Holness will arrive on August 28 and will depart on September 1. TT's Independence Day is August 31. Holness' visit was first disclosed by Housing Minister Camille Robinson-Regis last Thursday when she announced Government will spend $7.5 million for the celebrations.
On Saturday, Holness led his country in its independence jubilee.
“We celebrate under the theme, Jamaica 60, Reigniting a Nation for Greatness. While we cannot allow the current global crises of a pandemic, war, and inflation to dampen our mood, the government is mindful of the hardships our people are experiencing; therefore, our celebrations must give hope, be meaningful, and uplifting,” he said in an address, reported by the Caribbean News Agency.
"At 60, there must be reflection, introspection, contemplation, and prospection. As leaders, have we been good stewards of our nation? As citizens, have we been law-abiding, productive, and creative? And as a nation, have we been doing our part to advance the welfare of the whole human race? What will our story be in another 60 years?
"We reflect on the unfurling of the black, green, and gold on August 6th, 1962, a glorious time filled with high hopes and great expectations, the culmination of over 450 years of struggle from enslavement to Emancipation to nationhood. As we began to chart our course on the journey as an independent nation, we would meet with many successes and nationally fulfilling moments. Still, we would also encounter real challenges on our journey.
Holness noted that in retrospect, “it is true that, as Jamaicans, we have not always made the connection between our economic and political choices. For decades we have made political decisions inconsistent with good economic thinking, which have had disastrous social consequences.”
He said his administration is developing a series of legislation to address the social order issues.
These include – new Road Traffic Regulations that will be passed and will come into effect this year; the start of a new bail act and an enhanced security measures act.
Concerning the island’s status, he said that his administration has already commenced work towards becoming a republic.
In his message – leader of the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Mark Golding, again called on the administration to recommit to full political independence by “removing the last vestiges of past colonial rule.”
In his message, “Golding said the time to come together to achieve the constitutional reform required to have a Jamaican as our Head of State.”
He said the Opposition continues to be willing and ready to work with the Government to finalise the required legislation, pass it in Parliament and put it to a vote by the people in a referendum, as soon as possible.
“This step is logically connected to another, which is ensuring greater access to justice for our people by embracing the Caribbean Court of Justice as our final court of appeal. There is nothing to stop this proceeding now, even as we go through the steps of becoming a republic.”
He also said it is a time to celebrate the achievements of Jamaica in a plethora of human endeavours – “in academia, music, the arts, education, commerce, cuisine, science and, of course, our sporting glory.”