Mr. Speaker, Members of this Honourable House, I consider myself privileged to make this contribution to the Sectoral Debate and to outline the activities of the departments, divisions and agencies which fall within the portfolio of the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth & Sports with responsibility for entertainment, community development and women’s and gender affairs.
Privileged, because I have the honour to lead this Ministry at a time of social and economic transformation both locally and internationally. And privileged, because the portfolio responsibilities can perhaps be best described as fundamental to our capacity as a nation to define ourselves.
The twenty-four departments, divisions and agencies which fall within this Ministry are all, as I will detail, integral to the process of national definition: that is, determining who we are as a people.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, at the outset let me thank the Honourable Prime Minister for the confidence he has displayed in entrusting me with this awesome responsibility. I assure him that with the support of a dedicated staff and the encouragement of my political colleagues, we will play our part in effecting the transformation and creating the society that informs the vision and mission of our political movement. That vision, as you are aware, is to create a better way for a better Jamaica.
We are much taken these days, and rightly so, with the promotion of Brand Jamaica. Jamaica is a powerful brand.
What other country of two point seven million people enjoys the world-wide name recognition that we do. Whether it is through the record-breaking successes of our sportspersons, the vibrancy of our music as expressed by Bob Marley,Jimmy Cliff and others which enabled Reggae to penetrate all corners of the world, the piquancy of our cuisine, the sheer physical beauty of our country or the audacious, bold creativity of our people?
Yes, Brand Jamaica is powerful, built as it is on the contributions of those who went before: from the fierce resistance of the maroons to the fearless assertions of a new world religion through Rastafari to the fervent and passionate diverse expressions of our religious affirmations to iconic figures such as Marcus Garvey, Mary Seacole, Herb McKenley, Claude McKay, Norman Manley, Alexander Bustamante, Louise Bennett, and the many others in the pantheon of those who have helped us to define ourselves.
The task of my Ministry, Mr. Speaker, is to create the platform for the further definition of the Jamaican character that will allow us to become the best we can be and maximize our capacity to earn from all that we are.
Mr. Speaker, we define ourselves by what we know, i.e. by the knowledge we amass and have at our fingertips. And then again, we define ourselves by our lifestyle, by the ways in which we interact with each other and with the world. We also define ourselves through the generations we produce by way of the nature and forms of our investment in these generations. We further define ourselves in the quality of our leisure, in what we do when we have nothing to do, as well as in areas in which we historically demonstrate success (our competitive advantage) and our willingness to invest in these areas.
Finally, we define ourselves by the type of society we create, the nature of our interactions and governance at the level of the community including, as Marcus Garvey said, in how we treat our women, and, I would add, our men.
The goal of my Ministry, then, Mr. Speaker, is to integrate the portfolio areas in order to define ourselves by fostering and generating the type of lifestyle and quality of being, that will provide us with hope and sustainable prosperity.
Mr. Speaker, let me now focus on our policies and programmes.
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