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Principal Director for Culture in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Sydney Bartley, has emphasised that the country has made significant strides in its 50 years of independence, and this should be appreciated by all communities.

Speaking at an event to mark Community Month, held at Sharkie’s Seafood Restaurant, in Salem, St. Ann, on November 25, he said achievements in sports and other areas did not come easy, and young people should not accept the untruth that the nation has not achieved anything.

Mr. Bartley said it is important that young people understand themselves as products of communities. “Let our young people understand that they didn’t get where they are by easy means, that they didn’t get where they are by simple means, and that it is not an overnight thing. They got where they are by the sweat, blood and the tears of our ancestors, and on their shoulders we stand today,” he told the gathering.

He also called on persons to ensure that institutions work for the interest of the community. “Let us build communities, where people can sit together like this, and feel good, remembering that we are one people,” Mr. Bartley said.

"Collectively, we can achieve what individually we may not be able to, but the individual strength comes from collective engagement. We have to build Jamaica from community to community. The strength of community is the strength of our country, and without the people, ultimately there is no community,” Mr. Bartley said.

Meanwhile, St. Ann Parish Manager for the Social Development Commission (SDC), Richardo Aiken, told the gathering that his agency will continue the monthly event by the sea. “It is things like these that will make Jamaica become the place of choice to live, work and do business,” he said.

"Without communities owning their space and doing interventions that work for their local space, Jamaica will never be changed. You are ambassadors for change in your communities. So, read, sing, do poetry -whatever you see fit – and make your contribution toward the development of your space,” Mr. Aiken said.

The function was organised by the Social Development Commission (SDC), and the Discovery Bay Community Development Committee (CDC).