The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Hon. Olivia Grange, has launched Heritage Week and Community Development at a Service of Thanksgiving at the Church of God in Jamaica at Edgewater in St. Catherine.
Heritage Week culminates with Heroes’ Day on Monday, 17 October 2011. The theme for Heritage Week is “The Journey Continues” and is intended to inspire action among Jamaicans to carry on the work of our heroes in the building of a great nation.
Community Development Month will be observed in November under the theme “Get involved, stay involved; Building Communities, Building Jamaica”.
"Our presence here this morning in this wonderful army of faith, here at the Church of God in the thriving Portmore community that we have built, is a reflection of our unwavering faith in God and our determination to place Jamaica, Land We Love in His hands. Indeed, weren’t “our hands made strong by the hands of the Almighty as we forward in this generation triumphantly”?
"In the greatest show of defiance and consolidation, our people departed from the plantations and set out to establish free communities, called "free villages". This they did in Sligoville first, and then in other places like Sturge Town, Free Town. This was in recollection of the fact of our African culture that linked healthy and vibrant, caring communities to healthy and vibrant children: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’.
"As we are about to celebrate Community Month in November and tag it to Heritage Week in October, we are reminded that the development of equitable and sustainable communities remains one of our most important national goals. In that regard, we commend the Social Development Commission for its role in leading the process of community engagement in order to address serious national issues that confront us. Safe and secure communities are important to promote security, safety, peace and harmony – all bases for sustainable economic development.
"It was the existence of strong communal engagement that caused the emergence of Cudjoe and Nanny, Sam Sharpe and Bogle, as well as the triumph of Manley, Bustamante, Gordon and Garvey.
"Today, as we celebrate our heritage and community, we aspire to the return of strong communities in which the young, not so young, elderly, vulnerable, vibrant, everyone, will find a place.
"Today, Jamaica remains a powerful and strong country, positively impacting the global community. We have the fastest men on planet earth and some of the fastest women. Our culture and sports continue to augment Brand Jamaica and provide opportunities for investment, trade and tourism development. This is undoubtedly the result of the creativity, strength and resilience which our people incorporated along the journey. National hero, Marcus Garvey assures us that we can ‘be proud of (our) race and (our) ancestors… we have a beautiful history and we shall create another in the future that will astonish the world’.
"As our journey takes us to our celebration of our 50th Anniversary of political independence, in the soon-to-be assumed leadership of a young man, we must recommit ourselves ‘before God and all mankind’ to the diligent and creative work, and the generous and honest thinking that will advance our communities and, ultimately, this country, in the next leg of the journey.
As National Hero, Sir Alexander Bustamante said: ‘Let us resolve to work together under the law to build a Jamaica which will last and of which we and the generations to follow may be proud’. God bless!”