JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding, says the Church has a critical role to play in holding a community together, amidst the constant changes that have been taking place throughout the world, some of which have eroded the principles under which communities existed.
He emphasised that “the things that hold a community together are not things that will exist or happen organically. They have to be established and maintained deliberately because if they don’t-they will disappear and we will become a group of human creatures who relate to each other in a fictional way with no genuine concern for each other”.
Mr. Golding was addressing the 345th anniversary dinner of the St Dorothy’s Anglican Church of Old Harbour, St Catherine. The anniversary was celebrated last night (Jan 10) with a dinner presented under the patronage of Prime Minister and Mrs. Golding, at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston. Mr. Golding said that while the church was being looked upon to lead the way, the schools in each community also had an important role to play. He said schools in the past were seen not just as a centre for learning but a source of the architecture that holds a community together. Mr. Golding lamented that the school is now struggling to find its place in the community. He said it has become a place where parents send their children to relieve themselves of the noise from children with the hope that that they will learn something in between. Mr. Golding said the changes which have taken place throughout the world had also impacted negatively on places like Old Harbour, once considered a peaceful, sleepy fishing village.
“We are in touch with the world, our music, our expressions, our language have taken off – we are mobile. In the course of that we have lost much of our community. It has disappeared and we are part of a broader society and the values that used to identify us as a people from Old Harbour, have been undermined and weakened as we are part of this broader arena of human existence and when it comes to values-there is not just an ambiguity but confusion about what’s right and what’s wrong”, Mr. Golding said.
He said part of the challenge now is to pursue a deliberate strategy to try and rebuild this community. One of the first things he said, would be to try and harmonise all the groups as there were so many different initiatives, each trying to carve out a little piece of Old Harbour for themselves.
“We have to bring them together under some broad umbrella…to bring all the movers and shakers together and to agree on some basic principles that will guide not just the development of the community but how we collaborate and to see to what extent we can make Old Harbour a model for other communities across Jamaica”, Mr. Golding challenged.
St Dorothy’s Anglican Church in Church Pen, Old Harbour is one of the oldest existing structures dating back to 1663. It is a National Heritage site.