Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has underscored the need to inculcate positive values in the nation’s children at an early age, in order to prevent them from engaging in anti-social behaviour.


Mr. Holness, who was addressing residents and other stakeholders, following a tour of several communities in St. James on August 7, said it was equally important for parents to lead by example and be aware that children live what they learn.


“The Jamaican society can be considered to be a set of institutions that service its citizens by virtue of their life cycle needs. The first institution the Jamaican citizen would encounter when they are born would be their families. The question is how well is that institution serving the Jamaican citizen at that early stage in their life cycle,” he said.


The Prime Minister further noted that while the family is the most important tool for socialisation, it is not being properly utilised, nor is it serving its intended purpose.


“We have to be honest in asking ourselves, are our families instilling prosocial values in our children at an early age? It is anti-social for you to give the child a ‘suck-suck’ and when the child is finished… you take the bag away…and throw it on the ground instead of in a garbage bin. What do you think will happen? That child will now form the view that this is the right thing to do,” he added.


Against this background, Mr. Holness asserted that it was important that parents instil good values and attitudes in their children.


The Prime Minister’s visit to St. James saw him touring several projects, including the Montego Bay Fire Department Building, which is now under construction.


Mr. Holness indicated that he was pleased with the developments, which are either completed or at various stages of completion particularly in light of the fact that they were mostly on schedule and within budget.


For his part, Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Omar Sweeney, informed that while construction of the Montego Bay Fire Department building is three months behind schedule, due to work disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, it will be completed within the $550 million budget.


“I think, however, that we are on track to finish up about November. It is our intention to continue to move the project along. As you see, we are about 70 per cent complete right now. We started construction in June 2019 and we anticipated at the time that it would have been completed in June of this year. We are now working on allowed time within the allotted budget, and so far we have no issues,” Mr. Sweeney said.


The project is being undertaken by JSIF under its Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Programme.