Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with responsibility for Local Government, Hon Robert Montague, wants young professionals to play a more active role in national development, through partnerships with Local Authorities such as the Parish Councils.
He contends that they can make more meaningful contributions in how the needs of their communities should be addressed, thereby tailoring responses that can redound to the collective benefit of stakeholders at the local and national levels.
Speaking at the second annual leadership conference of the Jamaica Association of Young Professionals, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Thursday (November 18), Mr. Montague lamented the “apathy’ which, he said, exists in the society, particularly among young people.
He bemoaned that these young people are absenting themselves from being more active in national life opting, instead, to focus on the things that only concern young people. He said it is always the mantra that persons are saying “somebody needs to do this for me, and what is the country doing for young people”.
Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Robert Montague (left), listens as Managing Director of technology firm, Techshopja.com, Andre Sewell, explains some of the features of a headset on display at the second staging of the Jamaica Association of Young Professionals annual leadership conference at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Thursday (November 18).
“I, therefore, would like to congratulate the organization for taking up this mantle and for encouraging young business leaders to look around them, and not just to exchange good thoughts and ideas and good practices. But also (to) begin to look around them, (and) to (see) how they can improve the society that we live in and the space that we share,” he said.
Mr. Montague invited members of the association to give consideration to taking “risks” that will entail examining existing challenges and available resources, to rearrange inputs that can shed new light on the problems in Jamaica.
He issued an invitation to members of the organization to begin to partner with Local Authorities, visit the Parish Council meetings and become a part of their various committees, including the Parish Development Committees (PDCs).
The Minister implored young professionals not to resort to being “silent partners”, but to be visible in their inputs.
“We must begin to breakdown the boundaries and the barriers, and to open new frontiers, to challenge the conventional wisdom. I, therefore, ask you to partner with the various Parish Councils as we, ourselves, are looking at a very old institution, and re-engineering our processes,” he said.
Mr. Montague said that establishing partnerships can help to determine what the face of a community will look like in 20 year’s time.