'You have the power!'
Montego Bay Chamber calls on Rotary Club to engage region's youthThursday, July 29, 2021
BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON
MONTEGO BAY, St James - President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), Janet Silvera, has called on the Rotary Club of Montego Bay to better engage the region's youth as she believes “that demographic needs desperate attention at this time.”
Silvera, who was speaking at the club's annual installation ceremony on Saturday, stated that the community service organisation has “the power to initiate activities and services that can help our youth to resist violence.”
“You have the power to initiate activities and services that can help our youth to resist violence and develop skills to mediate conflicts peacefully. I know it is easy to believe that this is bigger than you but do not let anybody tell you that, it is not bigger than you. One of the greatest strengths of the Rotary is your ability to leverage your skills, your connections, and your resources to serve humanity,” Silvera noted.
Silvera shared that she believes that a partnership between the Rotary Club of Montego Bay and other western Jamaican stakeholders is a necessary approach in the region's fight against crime, as engaging more youths can steer them in the right direction.
“It has been agreed time and time again that a proactive approach spanning the political divide, along with public-private partnerships are essential to loosening the grip of criminality that plagues western Jamaica. I wholeheartedly believe that the community organisations like the Rotary Club of Montego Bay can play an important role,” said Silvera.
Referring to a recent video which made its rounds on social media, the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry's president suggested that the new rotary club's administration consider implementing parent education project, among others targeting our vulnerable youths.
“I want you to consider these projects, job creation and training programmes for young people, parent education because listen, I don't know if you saw that youngster beating up that woman in that tenement yard, but we have to educate the parents,” she said.
Recreational and community service projects, and conflict resolution training were also among the projects she suggested.
While lauding the club for the projects they have undertaken over the years, Silvera stated that these coupled with the projects she has suggested can “put a sharp dent in the crime that holds our young people and communities hostages.”
“Just like the amazing projects that you have already undertaken [that] have had a great ripple effect in the community, so too can any of these initiatives put a sharp dent in the crime that holds our young people and communities hostages, because we are hostages whether we believe it or not. They are holding us hostage,” Silvera declared.
Maintaining her stance that community leaders should do more to encourage healthy practices in Jamaica's youths, Silvera expressed that it is simply not enough to teach “young people to fish if the waters are muddy and treacherous.”
She believes that community leaders must do more to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.
“We all know the mantra, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. But we cannot stop there. Tell me what the sense is in teaching our young people to fish if the waters are muddy and treacherous. It is up to us as community leaders to tackle community issues at the grass root level, and to facilitate positive collaborative relationships that can change the game for our young people so that more of them can take active roles in bringing a new Jamaica to fruition,” said Silvera.
“The Jamaica that is truly a place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business. That should not only be a tag line, [but it should also] be real. As citizens, we all want to love where we live. We want our community to feel like home, to be a place that gives us a sense of pride, and where are our young people feel protected and are given the opportunity to thrive,” she added.
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