Yesterday afternoon at King’s House, the residence of the Governor General of Jamaica, was a rather moving experience for me. The occasion was the donation of six new ambulances to St. John Jamaica by the Japanese Government. I will write some more about this generous donation, but meanwhile wanted to share the Governor General’s speech with you. I found it touching, and as usual, Sir Patrick Allen’s remarks and presence always fill me with a certain kind of optimism and hope (although I am by nature rather cynical!)
By the way, the King’s House website is excellent, informative and always up to date, here: http://kingshouse.gov.jm
Thank you for joining us here at King’s House for this important ceremony to hand-over a fleet of ambulances to St. John compliment of the Japanese Government. This occasion is a clear indication of the great relations between our two nations and underscores the fact that, People of goodwill are those who think and act with a measure of understanding and concern for the well-being of all.
Japan and Jamaica have been enjoying good bilateral relations since 1964 and today is another signal of the strengthening of those ties.
Goodwill Ladies and Gentlemen, is goodness and love, and in their most basic human expressions, they drive the momentum of change, challenging all of the habits of separative thinking and action. The Order of St. John of which I am the Patron in Jamaica, takes seriously their world-wide mission which is “to prevent and relieve sickness and injury and to act to enhance the health and well-being of people anywhere in the world” as Ambassadors of Goodwill.
The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, headquartered in London, is perhaps best known in Jamaica, through its service organization, St John Ambulance, established here since 1899. For your information, St. John, Jamaica is a United Nations recognized order of chivalry, and wherever chivalry is expressed, the bottom line is care, concern, defence for the rights and well-being of others.
St. John has a wide impact in many areas of our country with its corps of selfless volunteers and cadets, who have committed themselves to saving lives, minimizing pain and promoting humanitarian and charitable ventures intended to relieve distress, suffering, sickness and danger. I am told that, whether invited or not, St. John Ambulance service is even deployed at entertainment venues, especially where alcohol is served, to the wonder of the party patrons.
Ladies and gentlemen, for their unwavering service, St. John must be applauded!
This donation of ambulances is an immense boost on the occasion of the Order’s 116th year of service to Jamaica. I agree with your predecessor, Excellency, that no one should be left out from development, and that everyone should be protected and empowered to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Given our nation’s incidences of crime and accident rates, as well as our vulnerability to hurricanes and earthquakes, these ambulances will facilitate St. John’s proud track record of being able to effectively render much needed assistance especially in emergency situations. It is noted that each year more than 179,000 women and 1 million newborn babies die from maternal health and newborn complications in Sub-Saharan Africa simply because there is not adequate provision for swift emergency response.
This ability to respond rapidly to emergencies, no doubt impressed on the Japanese, the need to reach out to us, a Small Island Developing State of the CARICOM region.
This is a valuable gift which will serve as a major life enhancing initiative and will assist us greatly to care for life at:
· and allow St. John to have a more impactful service in Jamaica.
I extend sincere thanks to the Society for Promotion of Japanese Diplomacy in Japan and the Grass-Roots Human Security Projects for the Government of Japan; for the provision of these ambulances. I am sure, St. John Jamaica will use this donation to compliment its existing number and strengthen its ability to respond and assist citizens in a timely manner.
I commend the outstanding leadership of St. John Jamaica for rallying the teams of conscientious medical responders, training officers, cadets and volunteers, who when needed answer the call. Ladies and gentlemen, please help me congratulate, stalwart of St. John, Nurse Marie Clemetson, for the Papal award she received a few months ago. She is the first Jamaican to be bestowed such an honour and a big part of this accolade is for her work in St. John. We want to thank you too Mr. Powell for your over sixty years of commitment to St. John.
Chairman, Executive Director, Council Members, Mr. Merrick Needham, Chaplain, trainers, and nursing members, we say thanks for keeping this movement alive.
I trust that St. John, Jamaica will continue building and improving its effectiveness through the upgrading and training of volunteers in the medical field. The energy of goodwill is potentially a powerful force for social change – yet its power remains largely underutilized in many spheres.
Goodwill is one of the most basic qualities of the human being and the great untapped resources at the heart of every human community. Ladies and gentlemen, let us all be ambassadors of goodwill because as the very famous American Merchandizer, Marshall Field once said, “Goodwill is the only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy.”
Thank you Ambassador Nakano. St. John Ambulance and Jamaica will always be grateful for your gift.
And, thank you all for your presence here this afternoon.