Leaders, at all levels of society were beseeched to "honour the trust" placed in them by Jamaicans and to share the responsibility of nation building, by helping to raise moral standards.
Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen made the appeal as he brought greetings at the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
He said that the annual breakfast, which seeks to foster greater unity, particularly among leaders at all levels, came at a time when many Jamaicans feel that leaders have violated the trust placed in them.
"We therefore are called upon to pray that we will be able to rebuild confidence, and to honour that trust. This mandate is applicable to leaders in all spheres of life of great misfortune is the frequency with which emphasis is skewed to the political leadership, while other leaders either abscond their responsibilities, or become oblivious to the power that they wield. We are all leaders, we are all responsible for Jamaica,” Sir Patrick told the large gathering.
He urged leaders, in the public and private sectors, to treat the trust vested in them with the sanctity and seriousness that it deserves. "The bar is set higher for leaders, and we must be careful how we use our high offices, not to criticise fellow leaders, but to share our mutual woes,"
The Governor-General said that the church also has a role to play as "the watchmen who must warn of danger, reassure from fear, and guide towards peace".
Chairman of the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee, Rev. Dr. Peter Garth called on Jamaicans to recognise that they must take responsibility, if trust is to be rebuilt. “This is the time for all well-thinking Jamaicans to rise to the challenge of transforming communities throughout Jamaica," he stated.
He further urged citizens to be civil and empathetic in their interactions. “We have got to watch what we say, and how we say it…may we never forget, as we honour the trust, that speech identifies who we are. It is the index of character,” he stated.
In an address, which resounded with audience, regional Deputy General Secretary of the Western Regional Mission Council, of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Island, Rev. Dr. Yvette Noble Bloomfield stressed that the burden of trust is on everyone.
She said this trust is dishonoured in every aspect of national life when persons contribute to systematic corruption and social denigration in the name of making a livelihood, or providing entertainment.
"We fail to honour the trust when we allow for systemic corruption, when we fail to exercise the moral will in correcting what we know be wrong and on top of that benefit from the spoils. When we manipulate the system to suit our needs, to the negligence of others, we dishonor the trust. When we have the ability and the capacity to make a difference and only remain a silent presence, we dishonor the trust,” she outlined.
Rev. Bloomfield stressed however, that despite the negatives, many Jamaicans still continued to display inherent goodness and positivity. “Let that spirit of goodness come from within each of us…let us continue to act in ways of fairness and justice, as we seek to rewrite the script of honour, for justice,” she stated.
The National Leadership Prayer Breakfast, which is in its 31st year, brings together leaders for prayers and fellowship, and includes participation from stakeholders of the state, civic life, and the church. Sponsored by Victoria Mutual, this year’s breakfast was held under the theme: ‘Honour the Trust’.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Menzies family with medical assistance for their three children, who are afflicted with a neurodegenerative disorder. The government of Jamaica has pledged $1 million to the cause.
CONTACT: ALPHEA SAUNDERS