Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, said that the creative intellect and expressions of the Jamaican people, including the music, hold the key to driving economic growth and unlocking national wealth and prosperity.
She was addressing the opening ceremony of the International Women’s Forum (IWF) World Cornerstone Conference 2013 on Thursday, May 30, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall. The three-day event is being held under the theme: ‘Music, an instrument for change’.
The Prime Minister, in her presentation, noted that music has always been a powerful force in Jamaica’s history and culture.
“In our own Jamaican experience, music became for us, the instrument of redemption and change … we sang songs of freedom and redemption, songs to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. We sang about injustice and equal rights and dreamt of the day when our daughters would become Prime Ministers, because we understood the power of the song to will into being, the impossible,” she stated.
Music, she noted further has always been integral to the experience and world view of the Jamaican woman.
“It was to the music of the rushing river water, that our women found meaning and comfort, as they washed the clothes of their children and men. Throughout the history of the Jamaican people, music was among the energies that allowed us to overcome our fears and achieve success,” the Prime Minister added.
She said further that as a global brand and tourism capital, Jamaica has been immortalised by its music and the exploits of its people all over the world.
“The Jamaican people have an intrinsic quality, which differentiates us from the rest of the world and manifests in our stellar achievements in the fields of sports, culture and music,” she stated.
The Prime Minister commended the IWF for its mission and work in advancing leadership of women across careers, cultures and continents.
She also hailed the local IWF chapter, led by founding president Pat Ramsay, whom she said, “has been a major force behind the staging of this premier event”.
She expressed that hope that the songs of all participating nations in the conference “may be ones of celebration and determination to lift the levels of social and economic prosperity for all people, especially the least of these our sisters”.
The conference brings together approximately 400 influential women from more than 30 nations for discussions on culture, business, society politics and economic change.
Contact: Glenis A. Rose