JIS News

The Honourable Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, has announced that the Possibility Programme, run by the Office of the Prime Minister to help street boys in Kingston, will be extended to the St. Catherine capital, Spanish Town.
Minister Grange made the announcement as she addressed the annual Christmas Dinner and Graduation Exercise of the Possibility Programme held at the Jamaica Pegasus last night (12th December).
Miss Grange expressed confidence that her colleague Member of Parliament in the Spanish Town area, Sharon Haye Webster would support her as she puts the machinery in place for the introduction of the Possibility Programme to Spanish Town.
The Minister, who was interacting with young men of the Possibility Programme for the first time last night, established a strong rapport with them. “Here you are demonstrating once again that anyone can rise above the circumstances in which they find themselves. What you need is the will to do it and others to support you.”
She told the boys that she had come from a background similar to that of many of them but had chosen “to make something of myself and here I am today addressing you as a Minister of Government.” Maybe one day, I will be an “old lady” in the audience and you will be the Minister addressing us,” she said to the laughter and cheer of the group.
Minister Grange thanked the staff, management and board of the Possibility Programme for a tremendous job with street children over the past six years.
She said that one could not help but be impressed with the list of achievements which had benefited immeasurably the young people who came under the influence of the Possibility Programme. “Fundamental to the development of these youngsters are the major components of the Programme: The Care Centre, The Skills/Employment Centre and The Periodical Re-socialization Camps,” she said.
“And does Jamaica know that overall the Possibility Programme has so far admitted 401 boys and that some 30 young men visit The Care Centre daily where some of them participate in daily activities?”
Most important of all, the Minister said, was the encouragement given to the boys to value themselves and have a wholesome sense of self-worth.
She also praised the Rotary Club of St. Andrew for its contribution of building a hostel which accommodates as many as 32 boys.
Minister Grange said no group of young people should be considered unworthy of the country’s greatest care and concern but unfortunately this has not always been the case. “We have not always as a nation paid enough attention to particular sets of our young people, more so those in circumstances of need.”
“If in fact we sincerely believe that the future of the country lies in the hands of the youth and if we want the best for our country as most of us profess that we do, we cannot afford to ignore any segment of the youth population in our efforts,” she said.
She said the government is prepared to lead the way in, “substantially widening the net of young people we serve. It is our belief that no group should be ignored or neglected on any basis; not because of where they come from; not because of their economic status, not because of their colour, or because of what may be perceived as their political affiliation. This government’s programmes and projects to assist young people will always be all-accommodating and wide in their scope.
“As the Minister with responsibility for Youth, I give you my word that much more will be done for many more young people with our ultimate target being the entire youth population. By giving you my word, I appeal to you for support, co-operation and continued hard work,” was the Minister’s parting statement to the boys, management and staff of the Possibility Programme.
Earlier, Deputy Chairman of the Possibility Programme, Robert Gibbs indicated that efforts were advanced to also take the Programme to western and central Jamaica.

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