The adage “it is never too late,” applies perfectly to Mr. William James Benjamin who at age 89, was selected as one of the 2013 recipients of the Governor-General’s Achievement Award (GGAA) for the county of Cornwall. Mr. Benjamin received his award from Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen at ceremony held at the Glistening Waters Restaurant and Marina in Trelwany on August 29.
Mr. Benjamin’s story reveals his high level of determination and resilience, having lost his father at eleven years old after which he had to assume the role of breadwinner for his family. Although his circumstances prevented him from continuing his studies, Mr. Benjamin overcame his challenges and today is the proud author of a book which explores the growing of carrots using a dry farming technique. He still finds time to volunteer in his community, especially in the agricultural sector.
The Governor-General who brought greetings at the function said that the recipients received the awards for their altruistic efforts to build up their communities to make life better for the residents who live there. “They were able to accomplish this despite the challenges they had to overcome in order to achieve their personal growth and development,” highlighted His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen.
Sir Patrick noted that the existence of the awards is due to the generous contributions of civil society and corporate entities such as the Gleaner Company Limited; Jamaica National Building Society; Victoria Mutual, First Caribbean International bank (CIBC) and the Bank of Nova Scotia, who he said have worked together to ensure the longevity of the awards programme.
Mr. Benjamin shared the spotlight with five other adult award recipients from Cornwall, James Carman Wright of Hanover, Jeremiah Reid from St. James, Lennox Paul Napier, Trelawny and Irvin George Green, Westmoreland. The Governor-General’s Award of Excellence was presented to youth awardee Jodykay Amoy Maxwell who is from the parish of St. Elizabeth.
Each year, persons across Jamaica, are selected to receive the Governor-General’s Achievement Award in three categories, for their selfless acts that have knowingly contributed to the growth and development of their communities and the wider society. There is also a Diaspora Award of Excellence for Jamaican’s living overseas. It is this spirit Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen said he hoped more Jamaicans will adopt to make Vision2030 a reality.
Also in attendance at the function were: Her Excellency the Most Honourable Lady Allen; His Worship Councillor Garth Wilkinson, Mayor of Falmouth; Honourable Custodes from the county of Cornwall, representatives from the corporate sponsors among others.