Governor-General Highlights Link between Social Capital and Development

Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall has said that the linkage between social capital and development is, in part, related to the importance of social capital in achieving sustainable development objectives.
“This is so, as social capital is found to be associated with higher levels of educational achievements, higher levels of labour productivity, lower levels of crime rate, higher levels of community spirit, participation and volunteerism,” he explained.
The Governor-General was delivering a lecture, entitled ‘Building Social Capital for National Development’, at the University of Technology (UTech), yesterday (March 20).
“By providing a good human resource environment, social capital is credited with increased investment, entrepreneurship and high quality labour market. Beyond its purely economic contribution, social capital acts as a critical support for democracy,” Professor Hall said.
The Governor-General pointed out that for Jamaica, “recent indicators, such as economic growth, increased foreign investment and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the government and trade unions, are examples that point to the presence of significant social capital that is supporting sustainable development.”
Professor Hall suggested that there was a need to create a programme that would contribute to the building and strengthening of social capital in the country.
Such a programme, he said, would “involve a process of repairing damaged communities by rescuing them from crime and neglect, through the building of networks supporting better social relations”.
“There is room too, for greater volunteerism, and the culture of sharing, so that all groups in the society could benefit from the fruits of development. Such programmes would no doubt strengthen social capital by widening and deepening the concentric circles of trust,” said Professor Hall.
He added that central to any programme of social capital development was an increased emphasis on education with a curriculum that incorporated the teaching of civic responsibilities and values in community building and especially an appreciation of the common culture.
“Our universities and tertiary institutions should take the lead in focusing on professional values of service, transparency and integrity, thereby building concentric networks of shared ideals, experiences and aspirations,” said the Governor-General.
He pointed out that a consistent perception that plagued Jamaica’s development, “is the existence of ‘two Jamaicas’ operating with different value systems, social organisations and aspirations.
“Bridging the gap between these two autonomous conceptions of Jamaica must be an urgent priority,” Professor Hall stressed.

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