F_317522_c6KHZ1f7HreolYV5FYUQNSGhVw1gLnThe recent campaign by the Ministry of Health in Jamaica with the tagline ‘Pinch, leave an inch, roll’ has come under fire from certain sectors of the society. Esther Tyson, principal of Ardenne High School in Kingston, Jamaica wrote an article in the Sunday Gleaner condemning the campaign calling for serious adjustments to the message. Her new tagline for the campaign would state ‘value self, value others; self-control and true love waits.’

We live in a society that is over sexualised with not only images but also heavily present in our music. The fact remains that our young people are having unprotected sex and the Ministry of Health recognizes this.  Any campaign that is geared towards educating and influencing the use of condoms with the youth must be embraced. The youth globally not only unique in Jamaica are faced with choices daily and most times the values we would ideally want our youth to accept are ignored upon. Societies today are not projecting the conservative values we are told of. Instead, young individuals are bombarded with the acceptable behaviours of promiscuity and unsafe sexual habits.

The Jamaican society has been characterized as a Christian one. However, one would think the church would be vocal on certain issues but on the contrast they are numb and quiet leaving a sector of society to be leaders teaching our children that unprotected sex is real love. Our youth today has taken that message as gospel preaching it to those who they come in contact with, developing a culture where we have accepted sexual activities among young individuals as a norm.

How do we now combat this problem? The advertising campaign suggested by Esther Tyson to promote value self cannot work. Young individuals are battling low self-esteems, no confidence within themselves and a society where they are searching for role models. Valuing Others? Jamaica is currently one of the murder capitals of the world. We have no respect for life or anyone’s life in this country. True love? If a research should be conducted I am positive the percentage would be high of children born out of wedlock. Therefore the campaign that Tyson suggests is nonsensical, and cannot work in this society. The fact is, the campaign suggested by Tyson would be looked down upon and revamped to change its message simply because it would not be current.

The Ministry of Health’s campaign was spot on. Recognizing that young people today are participating in activities like this, arming them with the correct information can only assist. The campaign teamed up with popular show Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall and it was a perfect match because the target audience were fans of the popular show.

It is a pity that Tyson reminds me of Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin as a conservative believes that sex should be solely between married couples. However, Palin’s daughter Bristol Palin got pregnant at only 17 years of age. Sarah Palin as a republican politician has been preaching for all her political life of the sacredness of sex and marriage; when in her own household her daughter was ignoring this message. Esther Tyson serves as principal of Ardenne High School, a top school in Kingston, Jamaica. One would think she would have on the ground experience of what is happening to our youth today. However, Tyson still chants from her high seat that the campaign should be ‘value self, value others; self-control and true love waits.’ One thing is for sure, her students are chanting a different message of ‘Pinch, leave an inch, roll.’

It is time we accept the world we live in presently and start accepting the truth. We live in a society where sorry to say sexual promiscuity is a current trend which is very attractive to our young people. We need more innovative campaigns that will challenge stats quo and be different. After all we are in 2009 and not the 1960’s.

Corve DaCosta

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