March 7, 2014

I extend heartiest congratulations to the Girls’ Brigade as you commemorate ninety years of service to our nation.

Over this period, you have engaged our young girls in the quest to realize their full potential and to achieve their goals. Our young people have taken great strides towards realizing Marcus Garvey’s prediction that Jamaica would, one day, ‘take her place as an intelligent and progressive country, alongside other communities of the world.’

And certainly we are seeing that every day whether we are participating in various activities or programmes, and especially with the Girl’s Brigade through Christ-centred development programmes. The Girls Brigade has empowered hundreds of women who have contributed to Jamaica’s growth, thus helping to determine the destiny of our nation.

Inspired by the values inculcated in them, members of the Girls Brigade have excelled in various careers and in service to their country. Today, organizations like the Girls Brigade stand as bulwarks in the mission to build the Jamaica that we envision. And we know the mission immediately articulated- that is to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.

Your Anniversary is a time to reflect on your achievements, renew your commitment and derive inspiration from those who have contributed to the journey. Many members have blazed the trail ahead of you. As you look on, you too must work to ensure that you leave a legacy. A legacy of leadership, a legacy of commitment and a legacy of strength.  Your theme: ‘Reflecting on the Past and Renewing your Mission’, ensures that you will maintain your focus on your mandate to see “Girls’ lives transformed and God’s world enriched.”

I like the powerful symbols on your Badge:

  • The cross which signifies the crucifixion of Christ,
  • The lamp which represents God’s light, lighting our path
  • The crown– the Kingship of Christ
  • And the torch– indicating the flame of Christ’s living spirit.

You indeed have a tremendous opportunity to be light bearers of the values and principles which should permeate our society. When you launched in 1924, the way you executed your duties, when compared to today, is certainly not the same. You have found contemporary ways to get your job done by doing what is right to attract others. That is what we need to correct all that is wrong in our nation.

So, as I launch Girls Brigade month, I thank the leaders and other volunteers who continue to give life to this movement. I encourage churches, parents and guardians, as well as corporate Jamaica, to continue to support the Girls Brigade and help our young people, more than ever before, “to seek, to serve and to follow Christ.”

It therefore gives me great pleasure to officially launch Girls’ Brigade Month and your annual tag drive. And I appeal to all Jamaicans to support the activities which you have planned for March and the months and the years ahead.

Happy anniversary and do have a successful Girls Brigade month!