JIS News

Dr. Heather Little-White, Food and Nutrition and Communication Specialist, has been appointed Convener of the National Steering Committee for the Values and Attitudes programme. She succeeds Minister of Religion, Rev. Marjorie Lewis, who served from 2003 to 2005.
Dr. Little-White was appointed in January by former Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman and has now been given a mandate to promote family values. She has previously served as Co-Convener of the programme.
A new 12-member team, drawn from a wide cross section of the society, will support the new convener.
They are international football referee, Peter Prendergast, who will serve as Deputy Convener; Project Director of Change from Within, Pauletta Chevannes; Senior Director in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology, Reginald Budhan; Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Senator, Prudence Kidd Deans; Reverend Harris Cunningham of the Jamaica Council of Churches; Loveda Jones from the HEART Trust/National Training Agency; Principal of Haile Selassie High School, Claney Barnett; businessman, Robert Scott; Executive Director of Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), Georgia Scott; Social Worker and Educator at the Shortwood Teachers College, Winnie Anderson Brown; and Guidance Counsellor, Monica Holness.
Speaking with JIS News, Dr. Little-White said, “it is interesting to note that committee members were not chosen by chance, but by the areas they represent.” She pointed out that the membership of the committee was reduced from 18 to 12 but assured that the personnel was adequate to fulfill the mandate given.
She stated that based on previous experiences, “less is more” as this related to the number of people on the committee. “With a core group, which impacts a lot of social areas, we figure that this will work and we will co-opt people as is necessary,” Dr. Little-White stated, adding that the programme would benefit from the services of a number of volunteers.
She is encouraging churches, non-governmental organizations as well as community-based organizations to liaise with the Secretariat, which she said “acts as a hinge to co-ordinate and collaborate activities that may be coming from the public.”
The Values and Attitudes Programme, initially launched in 1994, is designed to address the serious deterioration in relationships, hostility and coarseness with which business is conducted, and the disregard for human life, evidenced by the high levels of crime and violence, especially murders.
In a bid to restore a sense of decency in the society, the Secretariat has been working in partnership with business leaders, representatives of the church, civic groups, non-governmental organisations, the media, academia, and politicians to chart a course for change.

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