‘Is our motto an existing reality, a guiding principle, an ideal to be aimed for?’ A great question, asked by Susan. For me, definitely ‘guiding principle’ and ‘ideal’, but having doubts about ‘existing reality’ in the sense that we are happy to be out of many, one. What do you think?

Right Steps & Poui Trees

The Jamaican national motto is ‘Out of Many, One People’, and is based on the population’s multiracial roots.

Jamaica - Coat of Arms

The motto is inscribed in the scroll of the Jamaica Coat of Arms, and was adopted at the time of Independence in 1962. Prior to that, the motto in the Coat of Arms was in Latin –  Indus Uterque Serviet Uni. (The Indians twain shall serve one Lord). It was felt that this motto had no relevance to modern independent Jamaica, and I would have to agree.

Ministry Paper No. 20, dealing with proposed National Emblems, indicates that the decision to change the motto had been made, but a replacement hadn’t yet been selected.

Ministry Paper No 20  - motto

The Ministry Paper was tabled in the House early in 1962.

Ministry Paper No 20 - end

Is our motto an existing reality, a guiding principle, an ideal to be aimed for?

To end, a verse from one of Louise Bennett’s poems –…

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