The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development launched its 2022 staging of its Cross Island Run following a two-year hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Portfolio Minister Desmond McKenzie on October 19 set off the runners, who will carry the messages for Local Government and Community Month (LGCM), on their islandwide trek.
The Run will culminate on November 5 at the National Church Service which will be hosted at the Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kingston. The activity – organized through the Social Development Commission – is the precursor to LGCM celebrated each year in November.
During the launch at the Portmore Municipal Corporation, Minister McKenzie urged young people to embrace music that encourages positive values, rather than glorifies illegal activities.
His call comes on the heels of a recent ban by the Broadcasting Commission on content that lauds unlawful activities such as scamming, gun violence and drug abuse.
“We must talk about values… what values we are trying to instil in the country. Those persons who have the ability to write negative lyrics, also have the ability to write positive lyrics. So, we have to take a stand as a country.”
The Minister highlighted that the Government is not violating citizens’ right to freedom of expression.
“What we are saying is that whatever expression you are [voicing] in the public domain must be something that is edifying… something that is uplifting,” he maintained.
“Our music once had hope… our music once inspired…Nowadays, I don’t even know what the number-one song in Jamaica is, because there are times when the lyrics are not something you would want to encourage your enemy to sing.”
Reflecting on late popular Reggae artistes such as Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis and Bob Marley, the Minister noted that their music highlighted current happenings without vulgarity.
“It tells you that we have the ability to do what is right. Let us use the decision that was taken by the Broadcasting Commission to look at ourselves and to make the right decisions.”