Our roots are well laid, firm and strong and widely spread
Secretary General of the JTA, Byron Farquharson has declared that the JTA has no particular location, because it has spread its wings into ‘all the hills and valleys over Jamaica ‘.
Addressing the Founders day commemoration ceremony at the Mizpah Primary School on Monday, April 3rd, Mr. Farquharson added that there is a particular attachment to Mizpah as the area is one in which the ‘roots of the JTA are well laid as well as around the community of Walderston.
Quoting from the Chinese proverb, which states ‘one generation plant the trees, and another enter into their shades’ to indicate that in 1894 our forefathers agitated for the concerns of the teaching profession and education, conscious that education for the masses was the tool of upward mobility”.
He added, “Mizpah is no accident, the JTA is proud to belong. We are deliberately here, we are not lost. We are at home”.
Mayor of Mandeville, Councillor Donavan Mitchell addressing the ceremony congratulated the JTA for conceptualizing the Founders Day ceremony. He said “the JTA is the most established union and professional organization in Jamaica and the English speaking Caribbean and its prominence epitomizes the combined hard work and dedication, sacrifice and sincere commitment from unselfish individuals”.
Support for JTA
The negotiating team of the JTA will be negotiating soon with government regarding the 2017-2019 contract period received support from Mayor Mitchell who used lines from Robert Nesta Marley’s song to encourage the teachers. Said Mitchell, “Get up, stand up, stand up for your right. Don’t give up the fight”.
According to Mayor Mitchell, “the first 53 years of the JTA was one marked with vision, fortitude, tenacity and fixity of purpose and the way forward must be one where the JTA is a beacon of hope for the teachers of Jamaica land we love”.
Member of Parliament for North East Manchester Hon. Audley Shaw was represented by Councillor for the Walderston Division, Leroy Mitchell, who declared that the JTA at 53 yrs, has been and still is a beacon to the education system in Jamaica having had its foundation built on solid ground.
According to Mr. Mitchell, the symbolism of the Founders’ Day event gave an impetus to the students of the school to emulate the hard work of the founders with a mind to do just as well or even better than they have done.
Using the popular memory gem, ‘silver and gold will vanish away, but a good education will never decay’, Mr. Mitchell urged members of the education fraternity not to become daunted in their fight for a better Jamaica and, improved salaries and condition of service. He concluded by reminding the educators to “Keep fighting, all is not lost. Jamaica is not gone, a foundation has been laid by our past brothers and sisters and JTA has run with the mantle..the future looks great”. He declared.
The Mizpah Primary school, a Moravian institution was well represented at the ceremony by the students’ presentation of two well rendered items.
Rev. Joan Smith, who represented the Moravian Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, in affirming the JTA on its Founders’ Day and Re-dedication activity said “the Association’s journey from 1964 to now, has been an incredible one, marked with consistency, leadership and commitment to nation building”.
She pointed out that because of the unselfish and unwavering work of the pioneers and now the JTA, Jamaica is a better place. She challenged the leadership of the teachers group to ‘move on’, to move on upward and onward to do what only teachers know how to do best”.
“There can be no doubt in our minds that what was built by the pioneering members has been tested many times through the fire of controversy and heated negotiations, but, has proven its worth” said General Manager of the JTA Cooperative Credit Union, Mrs. Barbara Gascoigne.
The sentiments of the Credit Union boss was echoed by Inspector Lloyd Darby of the Manchester Police Division, who said that with all the challenges which normally comes from lack of parenting, teachers and the JTA have been playing many roles in the schools while they shared a fruitful relationship with the Jamaica Constabulary in its safe school program.
Inspector Darby pointed out that teachers past and present have served the JCF well and as such despite the adversities that both entities face, with a relentless effort and a sense of purpose the challenges can be overcome.
Meanwhile JTA President, Howard Isaacs in a strong presentation reminded the audience of the fact that the JTA has made a significant difference not just in Jamaica, but across the world.
“The fact that we can look across and see the monument and to acknowledge the work of our forefathers, it means we have been faithful, we have held the torch, we have carried it and this morning we are celebrating this activity” he reminded.
Seeking to ensure that the JTA and its legacy were protected for the future, the President called on the heavens. “God watch over us, watch over us as we face the days ahead, as we seek to unite and serve, watch over our teachers and over the nation as we stand ready to do our part”
Guest speaker for the function was Executive Director of the Institute of Jamaica, Mr. Vivian Crawford. He, with frequent inserts of humour encouraged the audience to know, but more so appreciate the country’s rich historical legacy.
“God uses nemail to answer emails”, Mr. Crawford said the tangibles and intangible heritage of Jamaica has been made better because of the contribution of teachers.
“Persistently the teachers (over the years) denounced any attempt made to curtail educational privileges for our people and insisting on the proper moral training for our children and this needs to be applauded” he added. He concluded by stating that education without character is worthless.