SALUTATIONS

  • Members of the Clergy
  • Mrs. Jean Lowrie-Chin - Chairperson, Digicel Foundation
  • Ms. Krystal Tomlinson – Public relations and Engagement Manager, DIgicel Foundation (and Master of Ceremonies)
  • Winners and Participants in the Digicel Face of Change Competition
  • Ladies and gentlemen
  • Young people

 

Good morning

I hardly need to restate how much Our Governor-General The Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen regrets having to miss this event but the fact is that there is so much congruence between the Face of Change and the Vision of Love programmes that he was very happy to endorse the former.

You must be aware how passionate he and The Most Honourable Lady Allen are about young people in particular. ( Not telling tales out of school....HE makes it a point of principle to cultivate friends under the age of 30....He is also into the technology....and is never far from his phone or his tablet....he would have been using the tablet today in sharing thoughts with you...)

But allow me as a member of staff here at the OGG on behalf of His Excellency - and as a citizen of Jamaica - to thank the Digicel Foundation for its significant contribution to social development in our country..in .. Education, Community Empowerment, Values Inculcation, Sport, Culture....to name some of the areas where their contribution is making a difference.. Corporate Social Responsibility benefits everyone, and we applaud the individuals who are the minds, hearts, hands and presence giving substance to the principle and the vision.

Today we congratulate very specially all who participated in the Face of Change Competition. When you combine community service with home grown Jamaican creativity, you demonstrate for all the world to see that a small, developing country like ours can do big things and do them well. Importantly, you engaged the public in an attractive, creative and effective way.

Seeing is believing, and I am sure that many persons and members of organizations having seen the presentations in the media, would have been inspired and one hopes encouraged to believe in their own possibilities.

In time, these initiatives can spawn others and create something of a ripple effect bringing about the desired sustainable transformation of our social profile. Indeed, if we were to combine the viewership of all who saw the videos from these twenty-one organizations with the numbers of persons directly or indirectly involved in the projects or programmes themselves, we may well already have that critical mass from which real change can result, and exponential progress becomes possible.

So today as we celebrate the success of this first Face of Change competition, let us continue to reach forward for a brighter future while we also draw strength and confidence from the inspirational elements of our past.

There was a time when the Jamaican village substantially fitted the mould espoused by our African brothers and sisters where the whole community helped to care for and nurture the child.

There was a time when our small farmers engaged in "Morning Sport" or "Day fe day" sharing free labour and enabling each and all of the farmers in the community to have their land ploughed, in a reasonable time frame and relatively cheaply.

There was a time when a pre-Independence Head of the Jamaican Government seeking development assistance from the Colonial Office in London was challenged and asked, "If Jamaica is so much in need as you describe it, how do your people manage?." The reply, "It's very simple,

The poor help the poor."

We have in our history - in times of natural disaster and of other hardships - been able to come together and help each other ensure our collective survival, rebuild our physical structures, restore right relationships when broken, and demonstrate the strength of the community spirit.

We can be proud of so much in our history which speaks positively of philanthropy, volunteerism, and the duty of care.

Regrettably a great deal of these positive features in our life together has been undermined for a number of reasons which we need not enumerate today of all days.

What I believe is needed today however is

  • an acceptance that the negative social attitudes, the indiscipline and the irresponsibility which all hold back our social and economic progress must be significantly reduced,
  • the confidence that they can, and
  • a resolve that they will.

It is up to all of us to make it happen. One of the takeaways from today is that there is room for all hands on deck as we make common cause with those who believe in a better Jamaica. Face for Change held a competition. But Digicel Foundation is not in competition with IBI or any other enterprise committed to social change.

The impact of The Governor -General's I Believe Initiative, this Face of Change Programme and all the other programmes in our Youth Organizations, Service Clubs, Foundations, Churches, - all the Government and Civil Society initiatives aimed at instilling discipline, a sense of self worth and above all respect for others provide us with hope for that future we all yearn for.

Let us remember the current interpretation of the colours of our national flag. The land is green, the sun shines, and the people are strong and resilient.

Face of Change has shown us and many others across Jamaica that positive change is possible. Let us as strong and resilient people be the change and live the change so that sooner rather than later we can truly be - in the words of the poet A. L. Hendricks - a nation, triumphant, proud and free.

Again thank you to all who have made today's celebration possible and may God continue to bless us as we go forward.