MONTEGO BAY, St James — GOVERNOR General Sir Patrick Allen has hailed the parish of St James for its significant growth and improvement over the years since Independence.
"More than any other parish, St James, especially the city of Montego Bay, has identified its niche ... tourism has done well and you have contributed significantly to Jamaica's foreign exchange earnings," Sir Patrick said.
He was speaking at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay last Thursday, at a luncheon which marked the start of his 2012 parish tours across the island.
Sir Patrick, who was accompanied by his wife, Lady Allen, spoke of the advancements in St James since 1962 and cited tourism developments, improvements at the Sangster International Airport, the Montego Freeport and the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, as significant landmarks of achievement.
He also pointed to the several schools, and other educational institutions, for example, the Montego Bay Community College, Sam Sharpe Teachers' College, and the various western campuses of universities, which, he said, are signs of development and growth.
Spot Valley High School was the governor general's first stop during his tour of St James.
There he commended the staff, students, parents, principal and chairman of the board, for the progress the institution had made over its seven-year existence.
"We are extremely proud of the strides you have made, as Spot Valley has added a sixth form and is doing extremely well in terms of academic performance, with several students achieving excellence. Spot Valley is an example of what can be achieved with hard work and dedication to the task," he emphasised.
The GG and his party also toured sections of the Flanker community and the Success Craft Market in Rose Hall, prior to lunch with Custos of St James, Ewen Corrodus, Justices of the Peace, representatives from the Lay Magistrates Association, members of the Judiciary and representatives of the business community, led by the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Davon Crump.
During the luncheon, the governor general also pointed to the significance of this year's Parish Tours, which coincide with Jamaica's Jubilee Year.
"It gives us an opportunity to recognise and appreciate our achievements so far, and to reflect on the things we could have done but did not get to do...hopefully we can use the lessons learnt to serve as a template for the future," he argued.
He also stressed the importance of strengthening community institutions such as the home, the church and other community models, so that they can play a significant part in moulding youths and inculcating sound values and attitudes, which he said, are important pillars on which every community must develop.