Jamaica. First.

Jamaica. First.
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Jamaica’s political sphere has been buzzing with activity for the past few weeks. Political spectators lined the streets at rallies and every politically affiliated event, with the media giving full coverage to the events as they unfolded. Social media has never been more alive. As the election cycle progressed, newspaper editorials and political commentators analysed the 2016 General Election in great detail.

We now have a new government, one that has vowed to put us on the path to prosperity. But we need to ask ourselves, what can we do as a people to move our country forward? What are the steps that we need to take in order to put Jamaica first? In order to put Jamaica first, we need to ensure that we take a patriotic view of national issues and strive to be good, responsible and effective citizens, regardless of political affiliation. Because we are Jamaicans. First.

A patriot, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, as an individual who vigorously supports his country and defends it against enemies or detractors. Some Jamaicans don’t understand what being patriotic means. It means more than standing for the National Anthem. It involves taking responsibility for every issue because it is our country. Making our voices heard because it is our country; exercising our franchise because it is our country. If we should take a patriotic view to national issues, then we would each be playing a part and we would have a better Jamaica.

Who is a good citizen? A good citizen is an individual who adheres to the responsibilities of being a citizen of a country and fulfils these responsibilities effectively. The Jamaican Constitution outlines these responsibilities, putting them into legal and voluntary categories. Legal responsibilities include obeying the laws of the land, paying taxes, serving as a witness if summoned and serving on a jury if called. Voluntary responsibilities encompass being loyal to one’s country, voting wisely in elections, cooperating with law enforcement agencies, participating in civic organisations, being informed on current affairs, respecting and helping one’s neighbours, being active in the community and understanding and using the judicial process effectively. In order to put Jamaica first, every individual must adhere to these responsibilities. These responsibilities are integral to the development of this country.

We are all free to support any political party. We need to remember, even while we do that, that we all have a role to play in moving Jamaica forward. What we must remember is that we are Jamaicans. First. And that we should put Jamaica, first.

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