CARICOM Heads of State Urged To Adopt ‘I Believe Initiative’

KINGSTON — Advisory Board member of the I Believe Initiative (IBI), Earl Jarrett, has urged CARICOM Heads of State to consider endorsing and supporting expansion of the IBI across the region.

The IBI is a values-based initiative, born out of the inaugural speech given by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, at his swearing in ceremony on February 26, 2009. It seeks to inspire and motivate Jamaicans to believe in their God-given potential and to contribute to building a prosperous and peaceful nation.

It is predicated on three main pillars: building stronger family foundations; encouraging youth to adopt core values through transformative programmes; and promoting excellence in education through various academic pursuits.

Addressing the first working session of the 14th Conference of CARICOM Governors-General and Presidents on November 21 at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Mr. Jarrett said that the concept is applicable to the entire Caribbean region.

He argued that “if we are going to achieve our development goals, we are going to have to realize that the future of (the Caribbean) is no longer going to rest on the things that are on the soil, things like our sugar and banana, nor the minerals that are under the earth, like our bauxite and gypsum, but really, through the resources that are embodied in our people, and as such, we need to concentrate our efforts on improving the outcomes of our…citizens.”

Stating that the success of the mission necessitates the building of strategic partnerships, Mr. Jarrett said that this has been evidenced in Jamaica, by the support of a wise cross-section of stakeholders, “who have responded to the call to build blocks on which the country can grow and to recognise that this can only be achieved through the building of our people”.

Such stakeholders, he informed, have included civil organisations, educational institutions, the media, corporate Jamaica, religious groups, the Diaspora, and international development partners.

Noting that there are many similarities between Jamaica and other regional states, in matters pertaining to the family, inner city communities, youth, and education,

Mr. Jarrett said the nations could collaborate to ensure the appropriate individual and collective responses.

“As we roll out with the programme, there are elements within this programme, which we believe has applicability within this region. We put it to you that there are elements on which we can work together… (where) we can leverage our regional spirit to ensure that we achieve success in our individual countries,” he underscored.

Some 10 Heads of State from Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; and Jamaica, are attending the four-day conference being held in Kingston, between November 21 and 24 under the theme: “Building Together for the Future”.


By Douglas Mcintosh, JIS Reporter