Ten citizens of St James receive Spirit of Independence Award
A total of 10 St James parishioners were presented with the St James Municipal Corporation's Spirit of Independence Awards at the Independence Uniform Parade and Flag-raising and Civic Ceremony in
Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay on Independence Day.
Among the awardees were educators Carlene Ricketts; Carmen Ellis, Veronice Amos Williams and Joy Jeannite, who were recognised for their contributions to the development of education in the parish; Clinton Jackson, Joseph Smith and Robert Blake, who were given accolades for their impact on community development; naturalised Jamaican and general manager of RIU Reggae and Riu Palace Montego Bay, Frank Sondern, for tourism and philanthropy; and beautician Norma Webster and Tannoy Dunkley for their contributions to entrepreneurship.
The Spirit of Independence Awards is presented each year to citizens of St James who have made outstanding contributions in service to the development of the parish.
In his address, Minister of National Security and Member of Parliament for North West St James, Dr Horace Chang, speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, said despite Jamaica being one of the most recognisable brands in the world, violence continues to be a militating factor negatively impacting the country's international image.
WE MUST THINK
"As we celebrate, we must cerebrate; we must think. Take time to think of the challenges facing us as a nation, some caused by our own actions or inaction. It must concern us all that for a country often romanticised as a no-problem paradise, violence is becoming part of the narrative surrounding our brand and image," Chang said.
He urged the nation to commit to making the family unit the strongest in the society. He stressed government accountability, efficiency and responsiveness as areas with which the nation cannot be satisfied and in which citizens must be "eternally vigilant.
"Freedom is not free. The cost of freedom and independence is responsibility," Chang said.
He said it started in the family with the parents, "It starts with our fathers accepting responsibility for our children to create a space where they can be protected from abuse, cared for and loved.
"The family is the training ground for the wider community where we as a people learn how to peacefully resolve conflicts and not resort to violence," he added.