GG calls on leaders to choose hope
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The nation’s leaders are being encouraged to choose hope and to garner a strong belief in a better Jamaica, even as they contend with the current ills of the society.
Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen made the call during his address at Thursday morning’s National Leadership Prayer Breakfast (NLPB).
The 44th staging of the annual event was held under the theme ‘Choose Hope, Arise and Build’, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
“We are acutely aware of the challenges facing Jamaica, the spectre of crime and violence and a departure from our cherished values. As leaders and citizens alike, we share common concerns over the cultural shifts that threaten to overshadow our unique Jamaican identity,” the Governor-General said.
He charged: “We must believe in a brighter Jamaica… where hope outshines despair. We must use hope as a beacon that can guide our nation back from the precipice of even crime and violence and disorder. We hope for peace to reign in every heart, in every home, in every community. Hope for a day when leaders and citizens alike embrace the righteousness that uplifts a nation. Hope in the transformative power of prayer.”
The Governor-General further urged the country’s leaders to turn challenges into stepping stones towards a brighter future, while also stating the importance of church leaders sharing their wisdom, guidance and divine insights through seasons of anxiety and challenges.
For his part, Chairman of the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee, Reverend Samuel McCook, said that the occasion is to be seen as “an opportunity for us to recommit to the ideals of Jamaica [and] to believe that we are a great country, comprised of great people with great possibilities”.
“In that context, let us choose hope and arise and build,” the Chairman said.
Leaders across all sectors of society gathered at the event to provide prayerful support, while fostering a spirit of national unity.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, read the first lesson, while Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding, read the second lesson.
Representatives of the Judiciary, members of the Cabinet, Members of the Houses of Parliament, Custodes and Mayors, Representatives of the Jamaica Defence Force, Jamaica Constabulary Force, and civil society and business leaders were also in attendance.
The main address was delivered by Pastor of The First Missionary Church, Rev Omar Morrison, who reminded that despite the “dark clouds of despair” that threaten to derail Jamaica’s progress, there are “brilliant rays of hope”.
“Five boys choosing to take their injured friend and schoolmate to get urgent medical attention is a ray of hope. A taxi driver choosing to take the initiative to have a customer appreciation day is a ray of hope. Going after gangs and prosecuting them to the full extent of the law is a ray of hope. Twenty consecutive quarters of positive economic growth and a tourism sector that keeps breaking records in Jamaica is a ray of hope,” Morrison said.
At different intervals in the programme, prayers were heard for several groups of leaders across the public and private sectors. There was also a youth address from sixth-form student at Campion College, Kashief Barton.
Each year, the organisers of the NLPB identify a project to which proceeds are committed. This year, the beneficiary is the Educate to Elevate Community Outreach Back to School Programme of the Hope Gospel Assembly.
The NLPB began in 1981 and is held under the patronage of the governor- general. It is an opportunity for the nation’s leaders to break bread together and fellowship, and in so doing, model a united Jamaica.
The event has been sponsored by the Victoria Mutual (VM) Group for the last 39 years.