Governor General, His Excellency the Most Honourable Dr. Patrick Allen, has challenged journalists to join him in effecting positive change in Jamaica, by setting an agenda of hope for the country.
The Governor-General was speaking at a luncheon he hosted at Kings House today (March 31) for senior media practitioners, to discuss their cooperation in spreading his message of ‘I Believe’, which permeated his inaugural address on February 26.
“It is a message of hope intending to build confidence in every Jamaican at every level, race, age or stage; in every line of endeavour, church, politics, business; or wherever they are planted, to be the best they can and then to do the best they can for their country,” he stated.
Dr. Allen pointed out that the media has grown in importance as an agent of socialization, and acknowledged their pervasive role in the lives of Jamaicans, and their influence on shaping the minds of individuals.
He also implored the media not to highlight violence and to be more careful in how it portray information.
“I implore the media not to highlight violence- deprive the wannabe television ‘stars’ of their few minutes of fame. If you portray people behaving and speaking properly and respectfully, those who want to be seen on TV will behave that way,” he added.
“It is your duty to report on the facts and keep the nation informed, however, the manner in which information is portrayed impacts greatly on the mindset and outlook of individuals. It is embarrassing to see even more educated and influential persons in society copying the outrageous conduct which is portrayed,” he stated.
He also questioned how entertainers could raise the bar, and not think that only lyrics and videos “with negative and derogatory connotations” will make them stars.
“How can we highlight our teachers, who are painting values in the hearts of Jamaican children. How can we encourage young people to get back to farming, or be more involved in producing art and craft, making novelty items for the tourist industry, or doing things Jamaica, branding us and our products. Now is a good time, if any, to move in this direction,” he suggested.
Dr. Allen said that the media could walk with him, or go ahead of him, in inspiring hope and confidence in Jamaicans.
“I believe we can take Jamaica back- one town at a time, and we can restore hope and pride in the hearts of our people. I believe if all the thought leaders in Jamaica, the leaders of the youth, the chuch, women’s group and others combine to change, we can change,” he went on.
Dr. Allen challenged the Church to rise up and play its part, because it has the moral authority.
“The Church must fulfill its mission and stay above reproach. It must use its resources to mend broken people, restoring body, mind and spirit,” he argued.
He also called on leaders, at the parish and community levels, to help lead the charge in building and restoring pride in Jamaicans suffering in the “brutal” economic climate.
“I believe if we all rally together and decide, with our hearts, that we must change, it will happen and gradually our nakedness will be covered and we will be reclothed in our rightful minds. Help us to continue in our trek for greatness. I believe you can,” he pleaded with the journalists.
Jamaica Observer Executive Editor and Press Association of Jamaica(PAJ) vice-president, Vernon Davidson, responded on behalf of the journalists.
The luncheon was the first such event involving journalists and the Governor-General since his inauguration.