En­gage our youth in this trans­for­ma­tive process

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

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

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