JIS News

Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, says that Jamaica Day, which celebrates Jamaica’s history and its achievements, is not only important but vital, especially to the younger generation.

“A lot of our children at the primary and secondary school levels are not really clear on some of the battles that had to be fought to get us here. Many of them have taken for granted the issues that we contended with in slavery,” she told JIS News in an interview.

Jamaica Day, which was proclaimed by the Governor-General in 2010, will be celebrated Friday Feb. 17 by Jamaicans across the island under the theme, ‘Celebrating Jamaica: Goals for Gold’.  The celebrations will involve three major features – a flag-raising and recognition ceremony, a street parade, and an old-fashioned penny concert at the National Heroes Park in Kingston.

Activities begin at 8:30 a.m. with the flag-raising ceremony at National Heroes Park, Kingston, where Minister Hanna will declare the Day open. Apart from that event, the Minister will also participate in activities at several primary schools.

She said that young people should be constantly reminded about the struggles that the ancestors faced, as well as the achievements that have come out of those conflicts. She is also hoping that the day will not only inspire young people, but set an example of what is important.

The Minister mentioned various values and attitudes that need to be instilled in the youth of Jamaica, and emphasised that the country is not going to progress if there is an “I concept,” instead of a “we concept."

“Those are the kinds of values that are important; the values of productivity and recognising that it is not about leaving Jamaica, but it is really about staying and continuing the fine tradition that we have achieved,” she said.

Exploring the theme for Jamaica Day, she said that young Jamaicans must develop that mentality where they appreciate that, “nothing in life comes easy or happens overnight."

“You have to really plan for what you want and really pursue excellence, and those are some of the hallmarks and trademarks of those who have gone ahead and done well in athletics, in politics, in academia and in culture, and they (young people)  need to recognise those examples and be inspired by them,” she said.

Minister Hanna said there are many persons who set good examples for youth, and who have prevailed under difficult circumstances.

“The woman who works in the hospital for the last 30 years of her life and has sent all her six children to University; the person in the community who takes children in and teaches them how to read, those are persons who also make up Jamaica and gave us our proud heritage. There is also that community spirit in rural areas, when the communities come together and help people dig graves and when farmers get-together to work on each other’s plots,” she said.

“Those are the things that children need to understand that make us supremely Jamaican, that really give us a special type of brand that no one else in the world can replicate,” the Minister added.