Good morning to everyone and welcome to King’s House for the fourth Jamaica Information Service Heritage Competition Awards Ceremony.  After what I heard was a keenly contested competition the winners will be rewarded today.

This annual competition staged by the JIS is commendable for several reasons:

  • It motivates our young people to conduct their own in-depth research into their culture and heritage;
  • It stimulates the literary art at a time when the shortcuts of social media threaten language fluency and expression;
  • And for the first time, it encourages talents and fosters creativity through artistic depiction of our rich and diverse heritage.


The increasing number of entries which the competition has garnered over the years is a sign that our heritage is of interest to our youth. This means that there will be greater appreciation for our history. This validates the JIS quest to maintain it as part of its mandate.

Each year the Heritage Competition takes youngsters on an exciting journey into the past.  The emerging essays offer us some interesting perspectives on how young people view their history and the value that it holds for them.  Those who are gifted in graphic design also had a chance this year to provide their insightful interpretation of the theme “We are Free”. Happily, the Posters are available for your viewing pleasure following the ceremony.

I don’t want to say that we are a people of the past – glorifying the past with not enough gaze on the future – but I want to encourage each of you to look to the future.  “Ne plus ultra” Thus far and no more – “Plus ultra” – this far and no further.

Last year the essay competition asked participants to identify a heritage site and state why it is important to them.  If I were to ask you, I am sure you could name several heritage sites in Jamaica which are significant reminders about our past accomplishments.  They give us a better understanding of our ancestors, how they lived and how those early societies developed over time.  When you know about these heritage sites and can appreciate their role and purpose in our history, you will place a greater value them.

I encourage you to help keep our history alive by preserving those heritage sites for future generations of Jamaica to experience and enjoy. I hope that your participation in the important essay and poster competition has inspired you to make your own contribution to your country. Believe in your ability and work hard to realize your best dream.

One day you may become a leader who will promote Jamaica’s development and leave lasting legacies for others to follow.  Each of you here this morning is a winner because the knowledge that you have gained from participating in this competition will stay with you forever. Use it to influence your lives for the better.

I thank the Jamaica Information Service for its creative ways of exposing our young people to Jamaican culture and heritage. The values for which our National Heroes fought and for which some paid the ultimate sacrifice are an immense part of that heritage. Subsequent accomplishments in various spheres, including by unsung heroes, make us proud to be Jamaican.

There is incalculable value in building pride in and commitment to our country. This is what this competition fosters and so I wish you every success and hope that you will continue to receive the necessary support to take this heritage competition to even greater heights.

Thank you and may God bless you all richly!