There is a Chinese proverb that says, “One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.” This is relevant to the action which Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners are taking. Noranda’s decision to grant Jamaica 50 scholarships will produce trees in the form of qualified Jamaicans who will not only hold the soil of our nation together, but will bear fruit to enrich Jamaica’s future. I want to commend the company for the grant of scholarships to secondary and tertiary institutions, as follows:
- 5 major university scholarships
- 5 college scholarships
- 50 tertiary assistance awards
- 50 secondary bursaries for outstanding GSAT performers
This is a fitting way to pay tribute to Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence as these scholarships demonstrate your belief in the capacity of our qualified people to generate sustainable growth in Jamaica.
NORANDA JAMAICA BAUXITE PARTNERS
The bauxite industry is woven into the history of the parish of St. Ann over the past 50 years. This is evident in the employment opportunities it affords, its significant financial contribution to the national economy, as well as to that of St. Ann, including through its corporate social responsibility programmes.
We can recall that in 2009 when Noranda Aluminum acquired shares in the then St. Ann Bauxite Partners, the global community was reeling from the effects of recession and the bauxite industry was on the decline. That was a leap of faith which resulted in Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners employing some 800 direct and indirect employees while contributing over US$60 million to the economy annually. The year 2009 was the height of the global recession but that leap of faith has paid off.
CORPORATE AND NATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Noranda’s corporate social responsibility is evidenced by not only these Jamaica 50th anniversary scholarships, but by its ongoing commitment to education and skills training, sports and investments in the agricultural sector. I note in particular the recently opened community skills training centre in Discovery Bay and a similar Centre in Watervalley, Alexandria; its sponsorship of numerous sporting activities and the introduction of green house technology to small farmers, with some 50 units now in operation.
The expected returns on these investments in human resource capacity development will be seen in the advancement of communities, the parish of St. Ann and the wider Jamaica. These investments in communities help to build a collaborative community spirit with good promise for the nation.
No wonder, then, that St. Ann has acknowledged the contribution of Noranda through the various accolades given to the company. Of special mention I would also like to commend you for honouring your corporate social responsibility to advance the human capital of the parish St. Ann and the peoples of the communities in which you operate.
If we work together, invest in our people, support each other and do the right things the right way, we will achieve the dreams of our forefathers for a strong, vibrant nation.
I believe that corporate Jamaica increasingly understands that each of us must put a cocoa in the basket if we are to fill it with peace, prosperity and the inspiration needed to achieve our full potential. I believe that if civil society and community leaders accept that all of us have an input in the direction of our nation and all of us have the responsibility to give of our best wherever we serve; I believe that if our young people understand that they are the foundation of a bright Jamaica and they seize every legitimate opportunity to develop their potential, then we can all come to the conclusion as I have done, that believe there is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica.
As we commemorate Jamaica 50 and look forward to harvest some gold medals from the Olympics, I call on all of us to go for gold, strive for excellence in our family lives, in our education, sports and culture, in our work and in all other spheres of our contribution to building our beautiful homeland.