Jamaicans are being urged to preserve the country’s culture, and to teach it to others, by Her Excellency the Most Honourable Lady Allen.
Addressing the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Culture Clubs Annual National Conference, at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, on June 20, Lady Allen emphasised that knowing about one’s culture is important for personal growth, which will lead to further development of the nation.
Lady Allen said it is important to preserve the legacy left by “our forerunners”.
“All around us there is evidence that we are losing some of our customs, traditions, national landmarks and cultural expressions of our people. They will continue to disappear if we don’t care for them. We must therefore constantly promote our culture and ensure that it is passed on from one generation to the next,” she said.
Hundreds of students from several parishes attended the conference, which was held under the theme ‘Engendering a Culture of Love’.
“I want to assure you that you made the right choice to be right here, right now. Seize the moment while you are young! Tap into the cultural programme in which you will be engaging, so that you will not repeat the mistakes of the past,” Lady Allen told the students.
She cited many examples of how the country’s language, music, food and habits, as well as the Blue and John Crow Mountains, which is now listed as a World Heritage Site, make us unique.
“Individuals are also named among our national treasures and they include our national heroes, cultural icons like Louise Bennett and sporting legends such as Herb McKenley and Arthur Wint,” she said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, stressed the importance of promoting a culture of love in order to learn how to love and protect each other.
“We must preserve the Jamaican culture in the face of globalisation and outside influences,” the Minister urged.
She said the islandwide implementation of the Culture Club programme presents an opportunity for young people to be engaged in cultural activities in their schools and communities.
Culture Clubs were born out of a recognition of the importance of preserving Jamaica’s culture and heritage, and in 2009 they were established in schools and community-based organisations across the island by the JCDC.
Her Excellency the Most Honourable Lady Allen once again demonstrated the importance of reading among children when she participated in the Western Union I-PLEDGE National Reading Week, a programme of GraceKennedy Remittance Services.
As Patron of the programme, Lady Allen highlighted that her sustained partnership is girded in her belief that reading is fundamental to the wholistic development of the nation’s children.
Lady Allen read to and interacted with students of the Randolph Lopez School of Hope as part of the Special Needs Initiative on Wednesday (May 31, 2017) and culminated the week with students from across the County of Surrey who were gathered at the Hope Zoon on Friday (June 2, 2016). She used both occasions to encourage students to develop a habit of reading so that they can be successful in school and be adequately equipped to excel in their chosen careers.
Recognizing that everyone must play their part in ensuring that literacy levels improve islandwide, Lady Allen stressed that reading should not only be done in the classrooms but must be emphasized in the homes. “As an educator, a mother and a grandmother I understand first-hand how students are able to excel once they are able to read and how they are held back if they are not. I therefore call upon parents and guardians to read with children, allow them to read to you, and ask questions to ensure that they comprehend what was read,” Lady Allen stated.
Ms. Vinette Rowe, Marketing Manager of GraceKennedy Money Services, commended Lady Allen for her commitment to educational development in Jamaica and expressed her appreciation for her continued support of the programme.
“Her Excellency’s passion has advanced the mandate of the programme to promote reading as a necessary tool in developing critical thinking, problem solving and comprehension skills among our nation’s children,” Ms. Rowe commented.
Custos of Kingston the Hon. Steadman Fuller and Ambassadors of The Governor-General’s I Believe Initiative (IBI) also read to children.
This year’s reading week was held under the theme, “Read Today Succeed Tomorrow”.
As the mission of the Governor-General’s Achievement Award (GGAA) to motivate Jamaicans to use their God-given talents to uplift themselves, their communities and the nation continues, Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen on Thursday (May 25) recognized fifteen deserving individuals from parishes in the county of Middlesex with the Award for 2017, at a ceremony held at the St. Mary Anglican Church Hall in Port Maria.
The recipients were selected based on their outstanding record of community service, leadership and ability to motivate others through creative, innovative and sustainable projects which are family, youth and education focused. Youth awardees in the 18-24 age group are also recognized for academic excellence.
In his address, the Governor-General said the success of the awardees speak to the social benefit that can be derived when an individual’s actions and objectives are coming from a pure heart. He said that by daring to be different, the awardees have used various projects to harness the potentials of many of the nation’s young people and are directing them into purposeful aims and positive actions.
“These awardees have used their God-given talents to give back and to help others; they have become beacons of hope in many communities,” Sir Patrick Allen stated. He commended the youth awardees for their academic achievements, stating that “they burned the midnight oil and through sacrifice and discipline, while their companions slept through the night, they were studying for academic success.”
Declaring that “no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”, Sir Patrick Allen used the occasion to urge Jamaicans to “take the necessary action, reevaluate ourselves and strive to embark on activities that will strengthen and energize our values.”
Established in 1991, the GGAA’s platform was broadened in 2014 to include the I Believe Initiative under the umbrella of the Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence (GGPE). The GGPE is the embodiment of excellence in service and carries many stories of aspiration, inspiration and fulfilled dreams. One such success story comes from awardee Javaughn Keyes from St. Catherine whose academic track record, blended with student leadership and success in sport and culture has earned him many accolades.
The St. Jago High School head boy who lives by the mantra ‘with hard work and dedication nothing is far-fetched’, obtained eight distinctions and two credits in his CSEC exams in 2015 and was awarded the prize for top male CSEC student at Saint Jago and third in the field of Humanities island wide. He also placed 5th in the island for History at the CAPE level the following year.
Applications are now being accepted for the Governor-General’s Summer of Service Competition (SOS), a project of the I Believe Initiative.
This competition is opened to Jamaicans who are matriculating to college or university, or are already enrolled in their first year at an accredited tertiary institution. It provides applicants with the opportunity to compete for a scholarship that will enable them to complete their undergraduate degrees.
Major (Retired) Effiom B. Whyte, National Coordinator of Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence says “this year’s competition will once again provide well needed financial support to young ambitious individuals who are committed to nation building.”
The objective of the competition is to reward academic excellence while promoting volunteerism and providing exposure to the ‘world of work.’
Mosiah Moddie, a 2016 SOS scholarshh winner stated that, “The SOS Competition meant the world to me. It opened the door for me to be the first to enter university in my family and took a very big financial strain off my family and me. My voluntary service at St. Joseph’s Hospital during the summer gave me a better understanding of how to treat people, especially the elderly. As I helped them, I felt good within myself that I could put a smile on somebody’s face.” Moodie is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computing at the University of Technology, Jamaica and is currently in his second year of that programme.
Each SOS participant is required to use their summer holidays in voluntary work and must maintain a 3.0 GPA average during the course of their studies.
Last year, nine SOS participants were awarded with scholarships and grants valuing $ 9.8 M.
Information regarding eligibility, rules and guidelines of this competition is available here
Governor-General the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen in a thought provoking and electrifying speech inspired students and teachers at the Knox College to rise above challenges, seize the moment and succeed.
Speaking at his annual school tour designed to coincide with the institution’s 70th anniversary celebration yesterday (March 23, 2017), His Excellency told a packed auditorium at the Spalding based campus that, “many person’s achievements were born out of difficult periods when they decided that they must defy the odds and succeed.”
In emphasizing the importance of education, The Governor-General told his rapt audience that it is the most important acquisition for young people to move from poverty and ignorance to a position of influence.
“Today is a demonstration of the ‘Culture of Excellence’ that is being nurtured here, and I applaud the teachers for helping to engrain that keen sense of corporate social responsibility in each student,” The Governor-General also observed.
Highlighting the success of Abrahim Simmonds, a Governor-General – I Believe Initiative (IBI) Ambassador and this year’s Queen’s Young Leader Awardee for Jamaica, His Excellency shared how Abrahim is inspiring and energizing communities through his own Governor-General endorsed youth empowerment initiative, JAYECAN.
“Tap into useful and reliable resources in your teachers, parents and mentors…Be an IBI Ambassador and help to spread positive values and ‘gleams of hope all across our country,’” Sir Patrick Allen encouraged the students.
Also explaining the formation of a pearl which is the result of agitation and irritation, The Governor-General reassured students that, at Knox, “your pearl within is being formed.”
“There is no reason you who have sight, brain, hands and feet – cannot do well regardless of any challenge that you face,” The Governor-General stated.
In the wide-ranging address The Governor-General also urged students to be more careful in their environments, and parents and teachers to be more protective of the children in light of the recent abduction of women and children.
“It is everybody’s business to ‘shun the negatives’ within homes, schools, communities and even our churches,” Sir Patrick Allen charged.
Meanwhile, Mr. Alexander Borne, Principal of Knox College shared his elation about the The Governor-General’s seminal visit and tour of the institution at a time when they are ‘Celebrating Excellence, Inspiring the Future.’
The occasion was attended by government officials, business leaders and stakeholders of education.