Clarendon senior reflects on first Independence
80-y-o not in favour of republic push
Eighty-year-old Vere resident Ruthlyn Viola Edwards Francis can still remember the sense of excitement and anticipation she felt in the countdown leading up to Jamaica’s Independence on August 6, 1962.
Then a primary-school teacher, Edwards Francis vividly recalls how the students and everyone dressed up awaiting the raising of the Jamaican flag.
There was a big celebration. The excitement in the air was palpable and it was pandemonium when the flag was finally hoisted and just as much excitement when the British Union Jack was lowered.
“The people shouted. It was great excitement and the children were all dressed up and excited. They had their little Jamaican flags and all the different people talking about Independence,” she reminisced with The Gleaner.
For her, Independence meant “being an adult”, as she said it was like having children and reaching the age where they can go on their own.
“You want to have your own independence, so although we had belonged to Britain, they say we have grown up at that time doing things on our own, set up our own Government and have our own ideas and dreams,” she shared.
On reflection, Edwards Francis shared that while she doesn’t have any regrets about the country going independent, she wished that Jamaica retained some of the British qualities.
Noting how the British are known to be disciplined and able to manage their affairs, she said Jamaica, in cutting ties, lost that sense of discipline and integrity.
“Because you know the English people were so prim and proper. When you say you are independent, you need to think of your own things and have your own ideas,” she stressed.
Edwards Francis is not in favour of plans to have Jamaica relinquish ties with the British monarchy.
Making an analogy between children and parents, she said she cared for her mother until she died at age 102.
“As far as I am concerned, they (British monarchy) are still our parents and we should still show that amount of respect,” she noted, adding that they can be consulted for advice or counsel.
She also noted that Britain has done a lot for Jamaica and any decision to completely ditch them should be rethought.