I am pleased to join you and thousands of other citizens of the British Realm on this historic occasion, as we participate in one of the many activities to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the enthronement of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, Monarch of the Realm and Queen of Jamaica.
(Related Story: Beacon Lighting Ceremonies to Mark Queen's Diamond Jubilee)
This Diamond Jubilee is a significant achievement, which in the history of the British Monarchy has only been accomplished twice. This speaks to the grace, determination and commitment of Her Majesty to her duties and the peoples of her kingdom. During her reign, The Queen has visited almost every country in the Commonwealth and has graced our shores on six occasions: in November 1953 during the first Commonwealth tour of her reign; in March 1966 during a Caribbean tour; in April 1975 for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kingston; in February 1983 on our 21st Anniversary of Independence; in 1994 during another tour of the Caribbean; and in February 2002 as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations.
During those times we have found in her a truly “royal personality” filled with warmth and good wishes for the people of Jamaica - a quality amply displayed by her envoy, His Royal Highness, Prince Henry, during his visit to Jamaica in March of this year.
Prince Harry, as he is affectionately called, brought with him more than a touch of Her Majesty’s affection and, in so doing, brought the monarchy and his beloved grandmother that much closer to the Jamaican people. He left our shores a true “Jamaican royal” and we were immensely pleased to have accommodated him and to have received the message of goodwill from her Majesty, in this our 50th Year of Independence.
As we turn to the event at hand - Lighting of the Diamond Jubilee Beacon – we are conscious that we are participating in a centuries-old tradition, that commemorates the many achievements of a society steeped in a history that has shaped the destiny of many countries from every corner of the globe. As we carry out this activity, we recognise this signal accomplishment of 60 years of outstanding service, and acknowledge that this is a milestone worthy of the highest commendation.
I wish to publicly state that notwithstanding the expressed desire to complete the independence of Jamaica and to reinforce our identity as an independent people, Jamaica holds and will always hold the British Monarchy in high esteem, and has found within that institution many areas for emulation as we pursue a path for sustainable development for all our citizens.
I also wish to reiterate that we will continue to value our membership in the Commonwealth, which provides an important platform for deepening and strengthening cooperation between Jamaica and the United Kingdom, and among the other Commonwealth members, both developed and developing.
I use this occasion, also, to pay tribute to the Scouts Association and to recognize the important work undertaken by the Scouts. We are mindful of the many negative influences and distractions with which our youth contend. The discipline, the building of self-esteem and the opportunities provided by the Scouts Association assist, in no small measure, in shaping the destiny of many of our young people and of Jamaica as a whole. We salute this commitment. We pay special tribute to our first Queen’s Scout, Mr Byron Burton, and wish for him continued success in his endeavours.
I close with special good wishes for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11, for continued prosperity and good health in the years to come.
Contact: Communications Unit-OPM