Young people must not be Neglected – Governor General

Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen has emphasised that in seeking to transform the society, Jamaicans must ensure that the young people are not neglected.

“We must engage and involve them in our undertakings. In addition to adding a fresh perspective and relevance, they are the key to the continuity of our existence,” he pointed out.

Speaking at the United Way of Jamaica’s 25th anniversary awards ceremony at the Hilton Hotel, on June 2, Sir Patrick stressed that the young people are the future, and are critical in the process of re-shaping the country.

“We need to protect, nurture, socialise and train them to be worthwhile persons and valuable citizens,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Governor-General extended condolences to families who lost loved ones during operations by the Security Forces in West Kingston, recently.

“It was yet another defining moment in our nation’s history, and a time that we will not soon forget. Unfortunately it was a moment marred by conflict, bloodshed, suffering, grief, displacement and bewilderment,” he said.

He also commended the efforts of those who were committed to maintaining peace and good order in the country, adding that Jamaicans are now in a situation where “our moral obligation as volunteers is needed.”

“The innate selfish nature of human beings has taken its toll on us to the point where, as a result of nurturing individualistic ambitions, we have fostered a culture whereby individual gain supersedes the well-being of other persons. We have forgotten how to be our neighbours’ keeper,” the Governor-General said.

He argued that the decent, dedicated and hardworking members of the society are in the majority, despite the “violence, vulgarity, declining values and economic vicissitudes that confront us.”

The Governor-General noted that the United Way Programme has become synonymous with workplace philanthropy, which is a creative way that allows employed persons an opportunity to support the work of the private sector through payroll deductions.

“Here in Jamaica, the programme has become institutionalised. I note that since 1985, you have disbursed more than $1 billion to over 4,000 agencies, projects and institutions islandwide,” he noted.

In 2009, donations totalled approximately $80.7 million, which represents a 40 per cent increase in corporate and individual donations over the previous year. “This therefore. makes your goal of collecting $90 million in 2010 quite achievable,” the Governor-General said.

Chairman, Board of Governors, United Way of Jamaica, Noel DaCosta, in his remarks, noted that the organisation continues to provide opportunities for Jamaicans to care and share, “and we are committed to our mission to increase the organised capacity of people to care for one another.”

The United Way of Jamaica is a dynamic, people-oriented, non-partisan organisation, providing services for strengthening other organisations within the voluntary sector, and bringing together donors, volunteers and agencies for the ultimate benefit of disadvantaged persons at the national and community levels.

Since its inception in 1985, the organisation has mobilized resources to fund skills training, health care, education, agricultural, community development and youth empowerment programmes across Jamaica. In times of disaster, the organisation has played pivotal roles in restoration efforts, especially in the agricultural sector.