Jamaicans are urged to make a commitment to plant the virtuous seeds of respect for self, respect for others and loyalty to country so that by these values, citizens can make for a better Jamaica.
The call was made recently by Archbishop Kenneth Richards of Kingston at a special tree-planting ceremony at the Holy Trinity Cathedral grounds in recognition of his elevation as archbishop. Archbishop Richards was installed as the archbishop of the ecclesiastical provinces of Kingston, Mandeville and Montego Bay in 2016.
“As a nation, we are faced with challenges”, Archbishop Richards told the gathering according to a Jamaica Gleaner report, “And like our personal lives are indicative of this tree that is planted, I wish that each of us would plant a tree or a seed that really changes the lives of people we know.” The Archbishop said that he is optimistic about the future of the country in spite of the negative impact brought on because of the crime wave, corruption and indiscipline.
He maintained, if Jamaicans developed genuine commitment and love for their country, “what a better place Jamaica would be”. “But often, our mode of operating promotes self-interest above country. So while some persons succeed, the well-being of many suffer and the advancement of our country is retarded,” he said.
Vivian Crawford, executive director of the Council of the Institute of Jamaica said that the organisation took the decision to honour Archbishop Richards for his years of service to the institute. Archbishop Richards served as a member of the Council and was chairman of the board of the Programmes Co-ordination Division, Junior Centre, 2008–2011.
She explained, “We took the decision because of his contribution to the institute and that of nation building through the Church to our heritage,” the Gleaner report stated.
Crawford told the story of how one summer Archbishop Richards, monsignor at the time, was informed of a situation where the Junior Centre had to turn away children because there was a lack of available seats. He asked how many seats were needed and was told 25. “He got 51 chairs for us, and the chairs are still in use today. Such is the measure of the man. So through the council, we thought it best to recognise him by planting a tree in his honour,” Crawford said.