Engage our youth in this transformative process
IWELCOME the opportunity to share with the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, parish councils and communities across Jamaica as you observe November as Local Government and Community Month.
The theme for this year’s activities, ‘Rebuilding Civic Pride in Your Community and Mine’ is well placed, and is also a timely opportunity to highlight the connection between national development and civic pride.
As you know, a clean environment contributes to health and wellness, thereby impacting our labour force positively. Hopefully, Jamaicans can be persuaded to initiate activities that will in the long term see them reclaiming their communities from the grip of despair and decadence occasioned by various social and environmental factors.
The fact that the monthlong celebration was launched in the historic town of Lucea, Hanover, at the Lucea United Church, which is 186 years old, and the second oldest Presbyterian church in Jamaica, is most strategic. It signals that as a nation, we should draw on our cultural history which is preserved in our religious organisations, social institutions and the values handed down through several generations, as that solid base on which to restore the fabric of our nation.
As we embark on this journey to promote civic pride, let us bring our young people on board and engage them in this transformative process. Regrettably, too many of the social challenges facing our nation bear a predominantly youth identity, whether as purveyors or victims. Our youth are at an impressionable stage in their development and must be nurtured to have that positive outlook which can help them to find their purpose in life. It is for this reason that the I Believe Initiative (IBI), which is a values-based programme operating out of the Office of the Governor General, is seeking to instil positive characteristics in our young people. Community organisations are invited to join with the IBI to help strengthen the pillars of youth, family and education on which the programme is grounded. These conversations with young people across Jamaica can help them to build their lives, strengthen their communities and develop the nation. As you are aware, across the nation, other activities are taking place during the course of the month which can further set in motion a tide of civic pride. During November, Parent Month, Youth Month, Drug Awareness Month and Science and Technology Month are also being observed. Each has its own unique set of characteristics which, if used collectively, can have a fundamental impact on the realisation of our national goals through processes related to social re-engineering, community development and youth empowerment. The Local Government fraternity is therefore in good company! Embrace the gift that November is offering you to use what is right with Jamaica to rebuild civic pride across the nation, community by community. Best wishes for a successful celebration of Local Government and Community Month. Sir Patrick Allen Governor General