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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has hailed the Commonwealth as a testament to the principle of connectivity among nation states.
  • “We are connected through the shared interests of making our nations prosperous,” he said.
  • “We are bound by our collective commitment to the core values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” he added, in a message read by Vauxhall High School student, Shantae Russell, at a Commonwealth Day youth consultation held on Monday (March 11) at the institution in Kingston.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has hailed the Commonwealth as a testament to the principle of connectivity among nation states.

“We are connected through the shared interests of making our nations prosperous,” he said.

“We are bound by our collective commitment to the core values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” he added, in a message read by Vauxhall High School student, Shantae Russell, at a Commonwealth Day youth consultation held on Monday (March 11) at the institution in Kingston.

The Prime Minister noted that the countries of the Commonwealth are of varying sizes and stages of development but each state has an equal voice on matters of interest.

He said that as a member of the grouping of 53 member countries, Jamaica has made significant progress over the years, and noted the Government’s commitment “to empowering the youth, supporting our women against gender violence, building our economy through mutual integration and fulfilling the promise of our Motto, ‘Out of Many One People’.”

Meanwhile, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in her message, said the Commonwealth vision “offers hope, and inspires us to find ways of protecting our planet, and our people”;

“We are able to look to the future with greater confidence and optimism as a result of the links that we share, and thanks to the networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute and on which we draw,” she said in a message read by Vauxhall High School student, Martin Brown.

She added that, “with enduring commitment through times of great change, successive generations have demonstrated that whilst the goodwill for which the Commonwealth is renowned may be intangible, its impact is very real”.

Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips, for his part, noted that 2019 marks not only the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Commonwealth in its present configuration, but also the beginning of a new era in global connectivity.

“The last seven decades have forged old bonds of cooperation and friendship among nations, and the next seven should seek to strengthen these ties towards sustainable social, political and economic development for all,” he said in a message read by student, Kyla Thomas.

The youth forum was organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Jamaica Branch, as part of efforts to educate young people about the values and workings of the Commonwealth and how these impact their everyday lives.

The CPA is an association of more than 180 parliaments and legislatures, with a membership of more than 17,000 parliamentarians. It seeks to promote the principles of the Commonwealth throughout the member countries.

Commonwealth Day 2019 was observed under the theme ‘A Connected Commonwealth’.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Commonwealth as it is configured today, with old ties and new links enabling cooperation towards social, political and economic development, which is both inclusive and sustainable.

Activities across the Commonwealth for the day included faith and civic gatherings, debates, school assemblies, flag-raising ceremonies, street parties, cultural events and a multicultural, multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey.