Thu | Jan 18, 2018

A call for better values and attitudes

Published:Monday | April 3, 2017 | 12:05 AM

Jamaicans are being urged to embrace positive values and attitudes in order to mend the moral fabric of the country and thereby contribute to economic development.

The call comes from veteran journalist and deputy chief executive officer of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Ian Boyne.

"Our values and attitudes are central to any meaningful quest to economic development," Boyne asserted, while delivering the fourth annual Ted Dwyer Lecture at the Excelsior Community College in Kingston last Thursday.

Boyne argued that the social issues the country is now grappling with - high violence, high corruption, domestic abuse of women, gender imbalance - impact on economic development, which cannot be achieved until persons adjust their moral standards.

"We have a dilapidated social infrastructure; you need to fix the people. You can't just be talking about fixing the economy," he said.

Boyne commended former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, saying he was "prescient and insightful" when he launched the Values and Attitudes Programme in the early 1990s, which sought to address indiscipline, incivility and violence, with the aim of achieving attitudinal change and social renewal in the society.

"He was right to recognise that if you were to be talking about national development, we would have to give people a vision about Jamaica, have them buy into that vision, and buy into a certain set of values," he said.

He lamented that Jamaica now has a "collapsing social infrastructure" where value is placed on one's material possessions and "getting ahead" instead of what previously obtained from the 1940s to the 1970s, when volunteerism and civic pride were emulated.

Boyne suggested that there be a concerted effort to try to recapture these values, noting that back then, the youth were thinking about building a new Jamaica, were studying radical ideas of Black Power, and there was a belief that life was not just about what they acquired.