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Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Anthony Johnson, says that citizens must have the will and the leadership to make their cities dynamic.
“You must want to make your city a great city. If you don’t want to make your city a great city, if you are not interested in your city, you will have a static city, or merely an expanding city,” he stated.
Ambassador Johnson was addressing the final session of the 2009 Inter-city Intangible Cultural Co-operation Network (ICCN) International Workshop of Local Government Administrators, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on Wednesday (September 16).
He was speaking on the important role that cities play in national life and the development of countries.
He said that a critical element is social capital, which comprises the links between individuals and institutions, both internally and externally, and which allows citizens to develop trust, as the glue which binds human beings together
“People must have a belief in their security. You must not have in your city people who are fearful, or who feel that something that is not right is going to happen to them,” Mr. Johnson warned.
“You must engender a belief in the core values of the society. The motto cannot be, do as I say but not as I do; leadership must do as leadership says. Everyone must understand and propagate the basis of the core values of the society,” he told the gathering.
Ambassador Johnson emphasised also, that there must be respect for, and fostering of tradition, and civic pride.
“The people must have pride in being a citizen of a city; it doesn’t matter whether the city is rich or poor, whether the city is a Black River or Morant Bay or Linstead, once you are in a city, your leadership must engender in the people, pride. Once people start to feel proud of where they are and who they are, they will grow,” he argued.
Mr. Johnson said that history was also important to the development of cities, so that every district knows what it represents. He also suggested that cities promote innovation, discovery and indigenous products, or develop new products to become strong”.
The workshop was held at the conference centre, September 15-17, under the theme, ‘Local Government at the Forefront of Preserving our Intangible Cultural Heritage’. The ICCN is an international organisation of Local Governments, which aims at safeguarding and promoting Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in close co-operation with UNESCO.

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