Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Fayval Williams, is calling on service clubs to assist the Government in restoring the lives and livelihoods of Jamaicans who have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As Jamaicans everywhere reel from the turmoil …we need the steady hand of volunteerism to give us a strong and certain footing to rebuild,” she said, while addressing the Rotary Club of Downtown Kingston’s 2020 installation ceremony at the City View Hotel in St Andrew on Saturday.
Williams noted that in confronting “the mammoth task of keeping Jamaicans safe and to balance lives and livelihoods” during this period, focus must to be placed on keeping children in school including providing virtual classrooms; feeding hungry families wherever they are; keeping communities safe; protecting women and children from abuse; and building a strong wall of protection for every person living with a disability.
She said that the Government is committed to building a new Jamaica where no one is left behind, but stressed that it will require the input of service clubs through their philanthropic endeavours to realise this objective.
“This new Jamaica is within our reach but it will take more than government to achieve this. We can build the best schools, but it will take organisations such as yours (service clubs) to pitch in and provide mentors to our children,” she noted.
“Government can build and equip hospitals and clinics but it will take volunteers to take a meal to our hard working nurses, doctors, pharmacists on the front line. Government can train thousands more security officers and put more boots on the ground but it takes you, the Rotary Club, to provide shelter to an abused child,” she emphasised.
The minister noted that the Government is facilitating the enabling framework to create this new Jamaica by building institutional capacities, strengthening policies and the legislative agenda, improving civic engagement, providing technological solutions and increasing access to energy and the internet.
She said that this new Jamaica, envisioned, will ensure that there are no barriers to access to public services; that cashless transactions become the norm; that there is safe and affordable energy for all; that access to the internet is a right, not a privilege; and the creation of a strong national identification system that will improve ease of doing business in both the public and private sectors.