Former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, was given a special award by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) for establishing Things Jamaican, on August 22, at Devon House.
The organisation was established in the early 1960s when Mr. Seaga served as Minister of Culture and Development, to train artisans for the making of indigenous products.
In his address, Mr. Seaga called on youth and women who are making a living from their creativity, not to be “left behind.”
“Don’t leave behind the boys who are painting pictures on a fence, they are natural painters; nobody ever taught them. Don’t leave behind the women who are doing a little crochet, or a little handwork,” he told the audience.
Mr. Seaga said the most pleasing segment of public life for him was to be able to “move something from the bottom up, and craft is where you do it.”
He noted that culture and sport have been the two areas that have lifted many persons from poverty, as well as established the Jamaica brand.
Things Jamaican was established as a commercial entity on Spanish Town Road, in St. Andrew, housing six production units, with focus on wood, pewter, straw, leather, weaving and ceramics.
While providing training, the agency also provided employment for persons in the industry.
Meanwhile, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, said the entity served with great distinction, training people, and “Jamaica needs to be so proud of Mr. Seaga for the vision that he had in so many ways.”
For her part, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, thanked Mr. Seaga for his “insight and understanding of what was required for the development of craft in Jamaica.”
The Minister’s message was read by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Denzil Thorpe.