JIS News

Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding has called on the country to give young people a chance to assume responsibility as this will help them to grow into competent adults.
“These young people are the ones who have more than a generation ahead of them, they are the ones who will have to provide leadership and I want us to begin in a deliberate way to start positioning them for that responsibility that they must bear,” the Prime Minister said. Recalling his budget presentation for the need for the country to take responsibility for its affairs, the Prime Minister said that the youth should not be judged by their styles of dress and preference of music. “We refuse to place our trust and confidence in them…we regard them as a lost generation, but that is not true. Their cultural manifestations are different and if we get out of the way and facilitate them and guide them I believe that our young people can, not only bear that responsibility, but also do things that we can’t do. They are prepared to go where we would not have had the courage to go, and that is how progress is achieved,” Mr. Golding said.
The Prime Minister was addressing teachers and community members who attended the passing out ceremony for participants in the Preparedness and Emergency Response Corps (PERC) on May 28 at St Mary High School. PERC is a part of the Emergency Response Initiative (ERI) of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
Another speaker, Minister of State in the Department of Local Government, Hon. Bobby Montague, congratulated the cadets for their role in starting the programme and expressed his high expectations that PERC would become a model for the rest of the world to follow.
As Minister with responsibility to infuse disaster preparedness into the school curriculum, Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness said that he did have his misgivings about the ability of the youth to be first responders in a disaster, but said that he was amazed at their competence. “At first, my instinct was that I did not think that they would be ready, but on reflection and on seeing what we have managed to achieve, every time I think of the Prime Minister’s vision, I am awed. Without vision, the people perish and we have a Prime Minister with vision.” Minister Holness also said that as natural disasters were becoming more frequent and more severe, the Ministry of Education was making the natural environment a focal point of the education system.
At the function the Prime Minister presented certificates to 100 cadets who had completed the PERC Course. He noted that the Eastern Parishes were selected for the first phase because of their susceptibility to natural disasters. The PERC aims to train more than 300 youth. Funding for PERC and the ERI is provided from the $90 million Emergency Recovery Project financed by the Government of Jamaica and the World Bank. The project is being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund and it is expected to strengthen activities of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

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