Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, has lauded the Diaspora for keeping the good name, image and reputation of Jamaica at a high level. She was delivering the keynote address at the annual gala of the Merl Grove High School Past Students’ Association’s North-Eastern American Chapter, held on June 29 at the Hilton Hotel in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Noting the country’s accomplishments in various fields, Miss Falconer said: “we should never allow ourselves to be led into believing that the minority position is what defines a people and a nation, as is demonstrated time and time again, when Jamaicans step out, they take on and beat the world.” The Minister told the audience that the Government is committed to openness, noting that “enlightened policies” in the information and telecommunications technology (ICT) sector, as well as passage of the Access to Information legislation, have made information readily available to nationals at home and abroad. She said that under her leadership more is being done to open up government to the people, and in a matter of weeks the new Jamaica House/Office of the Prime Minister website will be launched, “which will be on the cutting edge and interactive”.
“We have also brought together, all the communications arms of Government under one umbrella grouping, to share ideas and to ensure that we all agree on the importance of increasing the access to government information by the people,” she said. Turning to technology in education, Minister Falconer stated that despite fiscal constraints, the Government is seeking to increase the use of ICT to improve access to and the quality of education. “We are determined to move the education system to a point where it is more relevant and more geared towards providing us with an internationally competitive edge,” she said. “We have, at this time, an education system that produces a large number of brilliant graduates at every level. We are aiming for a system where all have an equal opportunity to excel, where very few will fail, and where the broad majority emerge as more than just average, but having mastery of the basic skills and competencies on which to build a productive and fulfilling life,” she added.
Minister Falconer encouraged the alumni groups to continue their outstanding efforts to help their school and by extension, education in Jamaica.