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'Share dinner with a less fortunate child Christmas Day,' former PM Golding urges

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, December 06, 2018

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding has made a rallying cry to a group of Montegonians to follow his footsteps and open their doors to at least one child from a children's home for Christmas dinner this year.

Speaking at the Montego Bay Mayor's Charity Ball, a black- tie affair, held under a huge tent on the lawns of the Rose Hall Great House Saturday night, Jamaica's seventh prime minister gave patrons the telephone number to call the Child Protection and Family Services Agency and arrange to invite a child to their home for Christmas.

“I want to challenge you to do a little thing more for Homer (Davis). the Child Protection and Family Services Agency used to be called the Child Development Agency, they have a fabulous programme where they try to get families to take one of those children into their homes for Christmas Day. This year I plan to take four or five. And I want to urge as many as you as I can, call that number (876-948-2841), tell them I tell you to do it, and see if you can arrange to make a difference to just one little mind,” Golding appealed.

“Let one child end Christmas Day and go back to their children's home believing that someone out there loves them, somebody out there cares. And if somebody cares, maybe there are more persons out there who cares.”

Organisers of the second annual staging of the Montego Bay's Mayor Charity Ball sought to raise $7 million to provide for less fortunate children, senior citizens and the homeless in St James this Christmas.

Last year, during the inaugural staging of the event, some $5million was raised, which went towards hosting five Christmas treats in each of the five St James constituencies.

Some 2,000 children, 250 elderly residents, over 100 street people and 150 shut-ins were treated.

Golding, who commended the Montego Bay mayor Homer Davis for initiating the treat, argued that children eagerly look forward to Christmas more than adults, and if their expectations are not met, it might leave a permanent emotional effect on them.

“The little child — that little five-and-eight and 10-years-old — that restless brain has huge expectations. Christmas is coming, I want my Christmas; I am looking forward to my Christmas. But when Christmas morning comes it is not there. And the kind of let-down, the kind of shocking disappointment that they feel perhaps leaves emotional scars on them for life. We have to worry about them because you don't know which of them, if taken out of their circumstances of neglect, could become the best nuclear physicist,” he argued.

“When I was a youngster growing up, from you see it turn September I put 90 red peas in a jar and every day I take out one. Because that's my countdown to Christmas and when Christmas was over I wondered why it couldn't last for another two weeks.”

Mayor Davis expressed appreciation for the overwhelming support for both the inaugural event and this year's staging.

Beaming over this year's resounding success, he noted that more people will benefit from the Mayor's Christmas Treat this year.

“I am sure that we will be able to significantly expand the reach of the Mayor's Christmas Treat later this month. And in expanding, we will be seeking to treat some 2,500 kids from across the parish of St James. We will be seeking to give gift packages to the elderly, the shut-ins and some of our trying citizens,” the Montego Bay mayor remarked.

“As I said to someone, Christmas is a time of giving and Christmas is a time of sharing. I think as a municipality, at this time of the year I am prepared to lead that charge to make sure that some of our less fortunate enjoy a very good Christmas, and this year I can assure you that they will.”