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The Ministry of Youth and Culture remains on target with the implementation of several of the Jamaica 50 Legacy Projects.

This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, during her contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 18.

Ms. Hanna said the projects will, among other things, promote a revolution in the mindset and cultural action that will result in visible and measurable change in how Jamaicans operate.

The Minister said foremost among these projects is the transformation of the National Heroes Park into a Cultural and Economic Development Zone.

“The Ministry of Transport and Works is leading this dynamic project through public-private partnership. We cannot promote our cultural prowess while devaluing the space that represents the highest level of our cultural acumen and sacrifice. And let the truth be told, the plan to develop National Heroes Circle has been in the making since 1962,” she said.

Ms. Hanna said other projects which should be completed this financial year, include those in early childhood education; community animation, music and sports.

The projects in early childhood education include: Middlesex Basic School in St. Elizabeth, Marlie Hill in St. Catherine, Ebenezer in St. Thomas, Rock River in Clarendon, Church of Christ in St. Mary, Bannister in St. Catherine, Little Einstein Learning Centre in Seaview Gardens, Kingston, and Straun in Manchester.

Community animation projects include Rocky Point Community Centre in Clarendon.

The legacy projects will be undertaken by the Legacy Committee, which is being chaired by Chief Executive Officer of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, Billy Heaven.

In the meantime, Ms. Hanna said a national reconstruction of respect and appreciation for culture is critical to the nation’s development.

She lamented that in spite of Jamaica’s vibrant culture, it is respected more abroad than right here at home.

“Overseas we are seen as a Cultural super state. At home, how do we as a people see ourselves? Our culture has been used by Volkswagen, Puma and a host of international institutions and companies to redefine and promote their products. In all this, the truth is Jamaica has not benefited exponentially,” she said.

She added that many young people are still ignorant of the nation’s culture, heritage “and those icons that worked so assiduously to create and uphold Brand Jamaica.”

Contact: Chris Patterson