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LETTER OF THE DAY - Build discipline through culture across Jamaica

Published:Friday | December 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Patria-Kaye Aarons' column on December 16, 2014 ('Kingston is not Jamaica') makes a strong case for more cultural facilities throughout the island, and I strongly support the points she so ably made.

I made a similar appeal in this paper some years ago, calling for more support from the private sector in helping to address the great imbalance that now obtains in the distribution of cultural facilities, where Kingston and St Andrew have so many, as against the rest of the island.

Today, there is a trend of a lack of civility, of courtesy, an absence of discipline, and a widespread flouting of the laws enacted for our protection. This is most distressing, particularly when displayed by our youth. This problem has to be addressed by whatever means available.

Arts' civilising influence

It is an established fact that when young people are exposed to the civilising influence of the arts, whether it be music, drama, dance, creative and fine arts, and are given the opportunity and guidance to participate in these many aspects of cultural expression, they will adapt to a gentler, more disciplined lifestyle and become better citizens.

In fact, the humanising influence of the arts is one of the most powerful forces in ensuring this, and I do sincerely believe that exposing our young people to this influence will certainly mitigate the crass behaviour so evident today.

St Ann Restoration

The St Ann Chamber of Commerce has been acutely aware of this lack in our parish and has formed the St Ann Restoration Company to undertake plans for the establishment of a cultural centre. Plans have been drawn and a tract of land obtained by lease agreement with the Urban Development Corporation on which to construct the cultural facility. It will include a much-needed new library, an art gallery/museum, an auditorium, work areas, and cafeteria.

This project will further enhance Ocho Rios as a most desirable tourist-resort town, the more so, as it is to be built adjacent to the beautiful Turtle River Park. Together they will create a most attractive and functional feature in the town and, most important, will provide a facility for the cultural and creative development of our young citizens, in whom there is a wealth of talent just waiting to be tapped.

It will also be a tourist attraction.

An ambitious undertaking it is, but with the support of all well-wishers, the centre will become a reality.

JOHN E. MCDOWELL

jedisonmc@gmail.com