Individual responsibility is needed to "emancipate" the Jamaican political economy and mirror the same measure of successes the country has seen in sports and academia since full liberation from the clutches of slavery in 1838, according to psychologist Dr Leahcim Semaj.
In fact, he said, merely aligning oneself with a political entity will not bring about the self-sufficiency and job creation required to facilitate an economic breakthrough.
Semaj also argued that national holidays should be used as a time for introspection as opposed to mass spectacles of little substance.
"It's our responsibility to create the kind of high-paying jobs we need as a country. It should not be that we're waiting for somebody to come in and do it. To a large extent, we still socialise our children to go to school, study hard, pass their exams and then beg somebody a job. We have to change that to a culture where they attend school and get skills so we can create jobs," Semaj told The Gleaner.
Several vigils and events are being held islandwide to commemorate Emancipation Day today.
However, Semaj voiced that the national purse would better be suited strengthening the fight against crime and bolstering health care than hosting events of this nature.
"Developed countries treat these occasions very different than we do. We're using it as a way of creating unnecessary excitement, as opposed to utilising it to check on where we are and what's the next step. Government involvement isn't needed for celebration and partying in Jamaica. It's a waste of money, given our current predicament," he added.
"Emancipation has individual, family, community and nation levels. Use the day to ask yourself, 'What am I doing to facilitate and further expand my own emancipation?' Because it's an ongoing process. 'How am I taking care of my responsibility? How am I further enhancing my capacity? And what can I do so next year will find me further along than I am today?'"
Adopted from The Gleaner