GOVERNOR General Sir Patrick Allen has encouraged Jamaicans to remain positive, even as the country continues to grapple with several social and economic challenges.
"For Jamaica to be transformed, we must stem the wave of negativism. We must continue to believe in ourselves. We must continue to believe in our ability to develop our potential and to achieve our objectives under God," he said.
The governor general was speaking at yesterday's National Leadership Prayer Breakfast, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, under the theme 'Love that transforms'.
Among those in attendance were Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller; Opposition Leader Andrew Holness; parliamentarians; custodes; the judiciary; local government leaders; business leaders; the security forces; community and labour leaders; members of the diplomatic and consular corps; and church leaders.
Sir Patrick said that this year's theme is timely as it comes at a time when many Jamaicans are not only hurting, but are disillusioned by the economic troubles the country now faces.
"Many Jamaicans are embittered and refuse to accept that there is anything good happening in Jamaica. Too many of our people suffer from low self-esteem and see themselves as condemned to their lot in life," he said.
However, he assured that love — love for God, for each other, for the nation and for one's self — can transform the country and stem the tide of hatred and crime.
"All our hearts must come together in the building of our nation. It is the love that we have for our country, which will persevere in the most discouraging and difficult times to achieving our mission," he said.
"We must liberate ourselves from the bondage of hatred, from the vice of thirst for vengeance and for the numbing shackles of indifference. It is only love which has the power to cause that transformation," he added.
The governor general further called on the country's leaders to use their positions of influence to motivate and inspire those who have become disheartened. "We must strive to reach the hearts and minds of our people, our best resources, through love in action," he said.
The prime minister read the first lesson from Joel 2:13 and 14, while Holness read the second lesson, from 1st Corinthians 12:13 and 13:8-13.
The keynote address was presented by President of the International University of the Caribbean Rev Dr Maitland Evans.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Muirton Boys' Home, a government-supported orphanage in Manchioneal, Portland, which was damaged during the passage of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.