GG’s I Believe initiative officially launched

KINGSTON (JIS) — After two years of brainstorming and consultations, Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, yesterday officially launched the ‘I Believe Initiate’ (IBI) and unveiled a number of projects focused on education, the youth and the family, which are intended to have a significant impact in transforming Jamaica.

The initiative, which was inspired by Sir Patrick’s inaugural speech in 2009, aims to encourage all Jamaicans to develop a sense of self-assurance and national pride.

Speaking at the launching ceremony at King’s House, which was attended by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, the Governor-General informed that since 2009, he has been conducting consultations with several focus groups to identify the specific areas of attention and to develop the character of the movement.

“After developing a vision and mission statement, we concluded that the objectives can best be achieved through …partnerships and programmes to build hope, belief and sound values in Jamaican families, youth and education,” he noted.

Under the education component of the programme, WiFi centres will be established in Port Maria, St. Mary; Mandeville, Manchester; and downtown Kingston, to provide access to computers and Internet service.

He informed that through the Halls of Learning and other online educational programmes such as Khan Academy, learners will be directed to programmes for enrichment and attaining their educational objectives. “In this small way, the IBI will be doing its part to ensure that Jamaica achieves one of the Millennium Development Goals – to reduce illiteracy and increase the level of primary education,” he noted.

Turning to the youth-focused aspect of the programme, the Governor-General informed that three county youth consultative conferences will be held in October 2011 and a national convention to be hosted by the University of the West Indies, Mona in February 2012.

The IBI will also focus on developing healthy families through the provision of counselling services and parenting workshops.

“The family is potentially the most powerful agent for political economic, cultural and social change,” said the Governor-General. “As the foundation of society, it is also an important vehicle for the care, protection and development of its members and stability of the nation. I therefore believe in healthy families, not just physical health, but healthy family relations and attitudes,” he stated.

Even before the official launch, a lot of work was done under the IBI, including mentorship and outreach work to benefit young people at the Glenhope Place of Safety, St. Patrick’s Foundation, the Juvenile Remand Centre and the Bustamante Children’s Hospital.

Several teenagers from the places of safety were mentored, tutored and assisted with books, and examination fees. “Some did exceptionally well in the CXC’s (Caribbean Examination Council)  passing with grades one and two in all subjects taken,” the Governor-General informed. “Two are now pursuing tertiary education and are doing well,” he added.

The Governor-General has also established three new scholarships, in addition to the Lady Allen Reading Readiness Laboratory, and the annual Governor-General’s health fair.

In endorsing the programme, Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding said the IBI represents a call to Jamaicans to reaffirm “our confidence in ourselves and our capacity to do things.”

“It’s a belief that there is nothing beyond our reach and there is nothing within our reach that cannot be within our grasp,” he stated.