Jamaicans Urged to Preserve Culture

Photo: Barbara Ellington Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen, delivering the main address at the JCDC Annual Culture Clubs Conference at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, on June 20.

Story Highlights

  • Jamaicans are being urged to preserve the country’s culture, and to teach it to others, by Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen.
  • “There is evidence that we are losing some of our customs, traditions, national landmarks and cultural expressions. Many of us do not respect our landmarks, as we destroy and deface them. We must constantly promote our culture and make sure that it is passed on from one generation to the next,” she said.
  • She cited many examples of how the country’s language, music, food and habits, as well as the Blue and John Crow Mountains, which is now listed as a World Heritage Site, make us unique.

Jamaicans are being urged to preserve the country’s culture, and to teach it to others, by Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen.

Addressing the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Culture Clubs Annual National Conference, at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, on June 20, Lady Allen emphasised that knowing about one’s culture is important for personal growth, which will lead to further development of the nation.

Lady Allen said it is important to preserve the legacy left by “our African and other forerunners”.

“There is evidence that we are losing some of our customs, traditions, national landmarks and cultural expressions. Many of us do not respect our landmarks, as we destroy and deface them. We must constantly promote our culture and make sure that it is passed on from one generation to the next,” she said.

Hundreds of students from several parishes attended the conference, which was held under the theme ‘Engendering a Culture of Love’.

“Seize the moment while you are young, and tap into the programme in which you will be engaged, so that you will not repeat the mistakes of the past, as we all must be matriarchs and patriarchs of the Jamaican culture,” Lady Allen told the students.

She cited many examples of how the country’s language, music, food and habits, as well as the Blue and John Crow Mountains, which is now listed as a World Heritage Site, make us unique.

“Individuals are also named among our national treasures, and they include our National Heroes, cultural icons such as Louise Bennett Coverley, and sporting legends such as Herb McKenley and Arthur Wint,” she said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, stressed the importance of promoting a culture of love in order to learn how to love and protect each other.

“We must preserve the Jamaican culture in the face of globalisation and outside influences,” the Minister urged.

She said the islandwide implementation of the Culture Club programme presents an opportunity for young people to be engaged in cultural activities in their schools and communities.

The Minister said the movement has grown significantly and has more than 400 clubs, with a membership in excess of 4,000.

Ms. Grange said she is pleased with the Ministry’s introduction of the Culture Passport programme, in collaboration with the JCDC.

“This is an opportunity to further strengthen the work of the Culture Clubs. The passport allows club members to visit some of Jamaica’s prominent heritage sites and cultural events at a reduced cost or for free. To date, some 500 passports have been issued to selected clubs islandwide,” she noted.

The Minister noted that over the next two years, and with support from the CHASE Fund, 50,000 Culture Passports will be produced for circulation.

Culture Clubs were born out of a recognition of the importance of preserving Jamaica’s culture and heritage, and in 2009 they were established in schools and community-based organisations across the island by the JCDC.

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