Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Jaycees urged to join anti-crime fight

Published:Sunday | January 28, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Past president of the Junior Chamber International (JCI), St Andrew Chapter, Pat Reid, has urged members of the once-vibrant movement to seek to regain its former glory by resolving to be part of the solution for Jamaica this year.

Addressing a recent general assembly of the St Andrew Chapter, Reid argued that after a century of existence, the junior chamber movement is still in the business of training young people and must not be negligent in that mission.

"The core of what JCI offers must have a deep foundation to account for its longevity. It can't be about our personal development alone anymore, but how we engage our most critical stakeholder - our youth," said Reid.

"I strongly believe that if there is any other time that the Junior Chamber movement can be most effective, it is now.

"There is a serious void, which we can fill by working with communities. One of the quickest ways to rebuild the Junior Chamber movement is to implement far-reaching community projects, especially ones that are youth oriented and that will create a turnaround in their thinking," added Reid.

She argued that the forging of partnerships with government agencies, the church, non-governmental organisations, and international agencies is a must for the JCI.

"Jamaica is a diverse building block of communities, and it is their thinking and their culture that ultimately shapes the Jamaica that we have to contend with, so we must sit up and pay attention, particularly to our volatile communities with young, unemployed men and women instead of, sometimes, stigmatising them.

"Our society's greatest challenge today is satisfying the needs of our young people to deflect their interest in wrongdoing," said Reid.

She noted that while some young Jamaicans are busy creating waves academically and in other fields, others yield to creating mayhem.

"JCI St Andrew and JCI Jamaica are blessed with so much competence in their members to help empower the youth transform and rescue lives.

"We must, therefore, not sit idly by until evil is at our doorstep, but help to reverse some of the societal ills by instilling a level of consciousness in our youth that life is worth living and not taking, and that includes theirs, too," declared Reid.

The JCI, formerly the Jaycees, was once among the country's most vibrant civic groups for young business and community leaders but has been less visible in recent years, and Reid urged the members to change this.

"Unfortunately, there is a generation of Jamaicans that does not have a clue about the work of Jaycees or Junior Chamber because of the lull in our activities and a lack of prominence in the media. In no way should we be content with this state of affairs. We must awake from our slumber and go into the field and spread the good work of Junior Chamber," said Reid.