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KINGSTON — Director of Youth Policy and Programme Development in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Roberta Brown Ellis, said there should be no letting up on the effort to transform the society and foster a culture of positive youth development.

She was addressing the youth awards ceremony of the Rotary Club of Kingston East and Port Royal held on Monday (September 26) at the Morgan’s Harbour Hotel.

Mrs. Brown Ellis, who was representing portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, at the event, observed that the lives of too many young people who “could have been great leaders have been snuffed out along the way and they never make it to fulfill their mission."

She emphasised that as leaders “we have a responsibility to make sure that whenever we have an opportunity or responsibility to influence the thinking and behaviour of others, that we do so to the benefit of those being served and never out of our self-interest."

Declaring that the country cannot continue to “institutionalise bhutuism", Mrs. Brown Ellis lamented the identity crisis and other forms of social aberrations among many in the society, as reflected in the pervasive practise of skin bleaching, adolescent violence and other forms of antisocial behaviour.

“We must speak up and speak loudly and condemn these actions that lead young people down paths of unrighteousness,” she remarked.

Commending the young men and women, who were recognised for their achievements in leadership, community development, sports and academics at the function, Mrs. Brown Ellis said there was so much that can emanate from our young people. “What we see are snippets of the brilliance of our young people,” she stated.

Among the priority activities she identified that can transform and actualise the lives of Jamaica’s youth are the promotion of health, education and training, entrepreneurship and empowerment, and care and protection.

 

By Allan Brooks, JIS Reporter