MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Prime Minister Andrew Holness recently praised the leadership of the New Forest Primary and High School in southern Manchester for encouraging resourcefulness and innovation among boys.
Holness had just watched a group of drummers from New Forest thrill the audience at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Fontana Pharmacy.
It was a performance with a big difference since the young musicians were using buckets instead of drums.
“I want to congratulate New Forest for providing their young men with this opportunity. They did an excellent job and they have my full endorsement,” the prime minister said.
“We take note that they did it without expensive drums and equipment. They used what they had. They improvised. Resources are not always the constraint; the constraint sometimes is leadership and the willingness to imagine the transformation,” he added.
Holness, who was guest speaker at the function, was particularly enthused since the group was all male. He suggested that the approach at New Forest was one that could help to divert boys away from crime and antisocial behavior.
“Our young men, sometimes we take the view that they are an endangered specie because… much of our crime, when you look at the perpetuators and the victims, they are our young men. I was just observing these youngsters drumming and you could see that they are enjoying this… They are part of a team, they are operating in unison, there is uniformity, there is order, there is great motivation, there is leadership, there is co-ordination; it’s tactile, it’s a tight group [group] you can see that. They feel a sense of accomplishment having delivered this very great presentation,” the prime minister said.
Unfortunately, when that cohesiveness is not channe led well, it does not result in something positive but in the formation of gangs, which undermine society’s structure and create disorder, Holness reasoned.
“That’s exactly what gangs do and that is exactly what is happening in our society. Instead of the formal system creating these opportunities for our young men to articulate, to mobilise, to work in, gangs are pulling them in,” he said.
Holness said that it must be ensured in a serious way that young men are provided with the appropriate outlets and opportunities to express themselves and feel a sense of purpose.
The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) gold medal winners from New Forest Primary and High had performed a piece entitled Fancy Beat.