Fifty years ago today, on 6th August 1962, Jamaica became an independent country.
Although Jamaica has had problems with its economy, crime and political violence, the period since independence has also seen some remarkable achievements for an island of just over two and a half million people.
Usain Bolt winning the Olympic 100m gold medal last night is the latest in a long line of track successes. Jamaica has also contributed players to the legendary West Indian Test cricket team, including fearsome fast bowlers Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh. Jamaican music is enormously popular internationally with Bob Marley a global icon and ska and reggae influencing styles as diverse as punk, Two Tone and hip hop.
What is now Guinness Foreign Extra Stout has been exported to the Carribbean since the early nineteenth century and brewed in Jamaica since the 1970's. I'll be raising a glass of it to Jamaica on its anniversary.