Jamaicans born in 1962 are proud of their nation’s achievements – Jamaica Information Service

As August 6 independence celebrations kick into high gear, people born in the same year Jamaica was declared a self-governing nation from the UK are expressing a sense of pride at the country’s achievements over the past 60 years. years.

Introduced to the world on June 10, 1962 in Montego Bay, St. James, educator Donna Gaynor-Lyn Fatt says the gains Jamaica has made are reflected in every sector, from academia and the arts to music and sports , achievements of which she believes every Jamaican should be proud.

“Our ability to do extremely well on all fronts – I don’t know if we understand the importance of that, but believe me it’s really, really important. We may not be that big in terms of size and positioning, but when it comes to music, we’ve been important; sports, important and when it comes to having political impact, or international organizations with academics or even creating things, important,” she says.

She is proud of the year of her birth, noting that it brings a sense of patriotism and uniqueness.

“Growing up I thought I was special and for the group of us born in 1962 we thought we were special…we had that feeling of being Jamaican and that pride of being Jamaican…you got that feeling to be important and valuable, and our parents made us feel that way. We spoke this way… we were expected to behave this way,” Ms Lyn Fatt told JIS News.

Reflecting on her experience growing up with independent Jamaica, Ms. Lyn Fatt tells JIS News that the development of Montego Bay, and by extension the country, unfolded before her eyes.

She grew up in a house in Barnett View overlooking vast sugar cane fields owned by Barnett Estates, which have now been replaced by modern architecture.

Mrs. Lyn Fatt marvels at the structural changes over the years as well as the accessibility of education after independence.

“I think what stands out the most is how easy it is to get an education and how easy it is to work, and I just compare what my parents said. It’s not that they couldn’t go to school, it’s just that they were cut off after a while, and getting into college was a struggle. I remember growing up hearing my dad talk about how to get into college you had to be the crème de la crème,” she recalls.

According to Ms. Lyn Fatt, the luxury of universal education up to tertiary level was introduced on May 2, 1973, which she says not only provided equality of opportunity but helped ambitious Jamaicans from vulnerable households to realize their dreams.

“For me and my friends… we had options and the options just allowed us to access education and I think education for us at that time was very important. So, we studied, and we tried as best we could to get where we wanted… And then in the 70s when education became free [it] was even more alluring because we then had the ability to dream and see the possibility of those dreams coming true,” says the educator.

Having benefited from the free education policy, Ms. Lyn Fatt and her friends are committed to giving back to the education sector by teaching in the classroom for at least five years.

She also fondly remembers the courteous nature of Montegonians in the 1970s and 1980s and the hassle-free rides from her alma mater, Mount Alvernia High, on her way home from school.

“Oh my God, the place [has] amended. I remember walking from Mount Alvernia Secondary School to Barnett Street near the clock – that’s where I used to take a taxi home – and it wasn’t a strenuous walk but a easy walk. Growing up in Montego Bay, the city was cleaner and it was just nice, it was a positive atmosphere and positive experiences in the city because people were courteous,” she shares.

He misses the “vibrant feel” of previous independence celebrations, when most Jamaicans decked out in the national colors to attend the street dances or the grand gala at the National Stadium in Kingston.

The St. James native believes crime and other social issues have changed the way Jamaicans celebrate being an independent nation.

“We talk about the nuances, those little things that have crept into society, and that kind of impacted how you see things now and how you would behave. It all started when crime [began to] ascend. Now you go out and be careful because pickpockets can catch you, so you don’t go there anymore. And now the TV is here, so you watch the gala on TV and people lose the mood,” she explains.

Despite the challenges, Ms. Lyn Fatt says Jamaica has made significant progress as a nation and her wish for the country for the next 60 years is “prosperity in its truest form to the point where we will become the breadbasket of the Caribbean, and it is possible”.

Meanwhile, the (Acting) Executive Director of the Jamaica Commission for Cultural Development (JCDC), Marjorie Leyden-Kirton, also feels a tremendous sense of pride and confidence in her heritage, having benefited immensely from the growth of the nation since gaining independent status.

Acting Executive Director of the Jamaica Commission for Cultural Development, Marjorie Leyden-Kirton. (JIS file photo)

Born on January 19, 1962 in Montego Bay, St James, Ms Leyden-Kirton also considers herself a unique person.

“I share and celebrate with Jamaica. I am always proud to say that I am a little older than independent Jamaica,” she says.

As a young girl, Ms Kirton shares that her family always embraced aspects of British culture, noting a particular emphasis was placed on standard English and proper etiquette.

“Growing up, my earliest memories, in terms of experience, is that back home we still had the British experience coming out of Independence. I had that advantage being part of that era. Even our language how we were brought up I had the benefit of having this standard English at all times we would be corrected Plus I learned how to use a knife and fork and how to sit at the table for almost everything we ate. Even when we took a fruit. The only time we were able to go down to a fruit was when we went to the mango,” she shares.

The focus on education in the 1960s by the government of the day was important to Ms. Leyden-Kirton. She notes that schools were erected quickly across the island, which she says had a positive impact on the nation.

She too attended two post-independent institutions, Flanker Primary and Junior High School, established in 1969, and Herbert Morrison Technical High School, which opened in September 1976.

“I realize now that even for my education I ended up going to a lot of schools that were new. It seemed like the government at that time in the 60s [placed] focus on education,” says Ms. Kirton.

She says that as a child there was more pomp and pageantry around Christmas, and that Jamaican heritage took center stage in the celebrations.

“I grew up in the 60s and 70s, such a distinctive memory, Christmas time; I remember the Jonkunus. We used to hear them coming. They would be in the communities and they would come to the community of Glendevon [where I grew up]and all the children were running to follow the Jonkunu group and they always came during the Christmas period,” she says.

Attendance was high at civic celebrations across the country, and civic pride was strongly emphasized in schools.

“I also remember being trained to participate in civic celebrations, especially at my school, and our culture and sense of pride was very high. Civics was very important at school. We were said who we were as Jamaicans, you know, the national anthem being new, we all embraced it, we knew that, and wherever we heard the sound of the national anthem, we stood up no matter what. happens,” she recalls.

Ms Leyden-Kirton, who moved to Westmoreland in 1985 to take up a teaching job at Mannings High School, told JIS News that pride in her beloved nation inspired her to vie for the title of festival queen for Westmoreland in 1986, a title she won and contributed to the development of her community.

Out of patriotism, she then chose to abandon her career in the classroom to become a cultural ambassador of her nation through the JCDC.

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