Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, is urging the country's youth to resist the temptation to migrate to more developed countries; but to remain in Jamaica and assist in the nation’s growth and development.
Addressing students at a special assembly at the Hillel Academy in St. Andrew on Tuesday (March 20), Miss Hanna said Jamaica needs more young people, who are committed to working towards the country’s economic and social progress.
“One of the things that I recognize, as a young Minister, is that our young people are not very excited about Jamaica, not very excited about staying in Jamaica, not very excited about working in Jamaica, and not very excited about really seeing the potential and opportunities that really exist here,” she said.
She advised the students that even if they should leave Jamaica to attain higher education, they should return home to contribute to nation building.
Referencing the government’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030, Miss Hanna told the students that the goal is to ensure that Jamaica becomes “the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”.
She noted that what Jamaica needs are more young people, who are willing to “think outside the box”, when thinking about a career. She encouraged them to utilise Brand Jamaica, along with technology and their rich cultural heritage to their competitive advantage, in creating a niche for themselves on the world stage.
“As the Minister of Youth and Culture, I want to see Jamaican young people rise to higher heights. The culture that we have, there are so many opportunities, because there are so many things that you can do with culture over the world wide web to make businesses, to take yourselves on the world stage and have a global competitive advantage,” she remarked.
Minister Hanna added that “the great thing about the country that you live in, is that it is one of the top brands in the world. When you talk about Jamaica, it resonates with people. It gives them a good feeling. You are a part of the country and a fabric of the country and you are a part of what makes us a number one brand."
The Hillel Academy’s special boys and girls assembly was organised as part of efforts to highlight issues raised during the United Nations’ Women’s International Day, which was observed on March 8.
The joint assembly was held under the theme: ‘Youth Engaged!’ with a special emphasis on character building. There were separate sub-themes for the boys and girls, which were: “Let the Girls Arise” and ‘The Gentleman’s Creed”.
Geography Teacher and Coordinator for the assembly, Karol Fernandez, said the programme is geared towards instilling positive values in the students, fostering gender understanding, ideals of inner-beauty and character building.
She noted that the programme was held to address issues arising from International Women’s Day, particularly those relating to males becoming more involved in addressing the issues affecting women.
“It is believed that women’s issues would go much further if more men got involved. And so we decided to have joint assemblies with the boys and girls every quarter to foster understanding between the genders,” she explained. “We want to get girls understanding boys, boys understanding girls, and hopefully a lot of the issues that we have with the genders will lessen over time."
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter