JIS News

Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke has called on Jamaicans at home and overseas to fully participate in efforts to reclaim the sense of patriotism and unity that seems absent in the country.
Sir Howard issued the appeal today (September 1) as he launched Jamaica Homecoming Week 2005 (October 15 to October 22), at a press conference held at the Hilton Hotel in Kingston.
The Governor General said there was an urgent need for a spiritual transformation of Jamaicans on a wide scale, from those serving in elected office, to even himself.
“Jamaicans need to become more spiritual – those who lead the prisons, who lead the pulpits, and the schools,” he emphasised.
In his address, Chairman of the Homecoming Committee, Trevor Hamilton, informed that a major thrust of the homecoming was to rebuild primary school education, and as such, persons would be asked to give help, whether through mentoring students or financing rehabilitation projects at schools across the island. An estimated 500 schools are being targeted to receive cash and kind throughout the week-long celebration.
Detailing several of the activities to take place during the week, Mr. Hamilton said they included peace rallies being staged in three parishes, Manchester, Portland and St. James; a Family Expo; and a praise and worship session to be held at the Emancipation Park on Friday, October 21.
The week will culminate with a Rally and Peace Concert, to be staged at Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston on Saturday, October 22.
Mr. Hamilton said that during the week, families were being invited to participate in community transformation and investment seminars, where they could learn how to assist the country.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the national airline carrier, Air Jamaica, are key sponsors of the events.
Speaking on behalf of the airline, Regional Director of Sales for Jamaica and the Caribbean, Charles Spence, said Air Jamaica was pleased to be associated with the Homecoming Week venture, as it gave the carrier an opportunity to fly Jamaicans home. He informed that the airline would provide special airfares for Jamaicans returning for Homecoming for the period Saturday, October 1 to Saturday, November 5. Meanwhile, Acting Director of the Overseas Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Herman Lamont said the Ministry fully embraced Homecoming 2005, as the exercise would further the government’s aim of reaching out to Jamaicans in the Diaspora.
He said the upcoming event would build on efforts made by the Ministry last year to connect with Jamaicans residing abroad, through a Diaspora conference that was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre.
The main objective of Homecoming 2005 is to encourage Jamaicans locally, and those overseas to return to their respective communities to provide assistance. The week-long event, which is being held under the theme, ‘Let’s Take Our Country Back’, will also promote fellowship and allow Jamaicans the opportunity to celebrate their patriotism.