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Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, is encouraging the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) to host more lectures as an avenue to keep Jamaicans informed about their history and heritage.

“You can bring in various speakers. It is something I have spoken to the Board Chairman about and it is something that I will continue to push for. Even if it is once a month…people deserve to hear about their history and their heritage,” she stressed.

Ms. Hanna was speaking on Tuesday, April 16, at the launch of the JNHT’s publication, ‘Jamaica: Heritage in Pictures’, at the agency’s headquarters, downtown Kingston.

The JNHT headquarters was built in 1755 as a dwelling house by wealthy young English Merchant, Thomas Hibbert, who became the Speaker of the House of Assembly. For a time, the meetings of House of Assembly and the Legislative Council were held there.

The house later served as the offices of the Colonial Secretary and as the permanent seat of the Jamaica Legislature from 1872 to 1960, when it was replaced by Gordon House.

Ms. Hanna said the staging of lectures in the Trust’s “hallowed halls” is fitting, given its historic significance. She argued that the move will be particularly beneficial to young people whom, she said, must come to appreciate the processes that have shaped Jamaica’s history.

“The only way that our young people are going to design that kind of pride, national identity, fortitude and resilience for moving forward for the next 50 years…is to understand the strength of their ancestors. You can’t do it by just teaching them in school, you have to give them the experience of it,” she stressed.

“Let us…have regular lectures right here in this hall, right here where children can come and ask questions, where they can go in the garden and make this building their living testament for the last 250 years, for going forward,” she said.

The Minister commended the Board and staff of the JNHT for the significant work done over the last several years, noting the “new energy” she has observed within the organisation.

Ms. Hanna said she was particularly pleased with the recent efforts towards the re-development of downtown; placing managers at heritage sites in various communities; and the move to declare 50 heritage sites as a part of the Government’s Jamaica 50 Legacy projects.

Jamaica: Heritage in Pictures’, features photographs depicting over 160 of the nation’s historic sites.

By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter