ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE MOST HON. SIR PATRICK ALLEN ON, GCMG, CD, KSt.J GOVERNOR-GENERAL AT FRUITFUL VALE LIFE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT HANDOVER CEREMONY AUGUST 25, 2015 (EDITED)

I am pleased to see you out today with the enthralling World Championships on in Beijing, China. The stellar performance of our athletes and the indomitable run by Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100 metres on Sunday and Monday is a reflection of the resilient Jamaican spirit that we foster in our various endeavours to achieve success. 

Once again I must commend the Fruitful Vale Benevolent Society for the direction that you have given to the ongoing improvement of this community. My last official visit here was for the opening of the Fruitful Vale Multipurpose Complex, the Fruitful Vale Information Technology Centre and the Fruitful Vale Water Supply System in May 2014.

It is good to be home again, this time to witness more development; the dedication of the Fruitful Vale Life Improvement Project in which the rearing of livestock is to provide viable employment and economic independence. I applaud Mr. Daryl Vaz, Member of Parliament for West Portland for the steadfastness with which he advances projects that can only lead to the ongoing improvement of this and surrounding communities. I do not need to list the projects; you are aware of them. But I must mention the rehabilitation of the roadway from Hope Bay to Coopers Hill which now makes it easier for residents to travel and more so for our farmers to get their produce out of the communities. 

The implementation of this life improvement project is with support from the Digicel Foundation. What is being demonstrated here today is the rich rewards that can be realized when communities work together. 

I have no doubt that the spirit of cooperation which is at the heart of this community is one of the factors that has attracted such widespread support from State Agencies and now the Digicel Foundation.  Through this project animals and the house for their keep, as well as entrepreneurial training and business planning resources have been provided for member of this community.

As you are aware, the driving force behind this initiative is the need to increase employment and strengthen the already existing resources.

You are blessed and highly favoured!

It is my hope that you will use this opportunity to expand your knowledge base to foster the development of an entrepreneurial culture which is needed to develop self sufficient communities to move our nation forward.

This parish is unique in so many ways. It is unique in that it was recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage site listing for its Blue and John Crow Mountains.

It also remains the most peaceful parish and is home to some of the unique beaches, largest producer of bananas, and is home to the leading agricultural college in the Caribbean region. Use these to your best advantage as you seek to develop these business enterprises, which are being put forward, for your advancement today.

I’m told that the football field, basketball and netball courts have helped the people to socialize more with each other through friendly games. I’ve also learnt that the Information Technology Centre is being used for its intended purposes for which there are various testimonies. The esprite de corps which pervades this community is needed to guard against any negatives that may want to creep in.

I urge you to be good stewards with the care of these livestock and prudent with the management of the business to come from them. Be proud of your farming heritage and learn how to use the technology to increase the yield and boost your earnings. 

I encourage the young people of Fruitful Vale and surrounding villages to continue believing in yourselves to make a positive difference through the myriad opportunities now open to you. Many people who leave high school limit themselves by believing that there is nothing after school. This negative thinking traps them into a downward spiral and many get caught up in activities which do not add value to their lives.

I have a once in a lifetime opportunity which I am using to encourage Jamaicans from all walks of life to believe that together we can build a better Jamaica of which we can all be proud. 

I have found several young people defying the odds and excelling in their various communities across Jamaica. I readily think of Kimroy Bailey a 2015 Governor-General Achievement Awardee, from Trelawny, for his outstanding work in robotics. There are also others to include Petrina Williams from St. Elizabeth and Jerome Cowans from Parade Gardens in Kingston who are the 2015 NCB Foundation and Chevening UK Scholarship recipients, respectively. And if you allow me, I would like to add Ibrahim Simmonds and Ecerka Gowie, 2013 and 2014 GGAA Summer of Service competition winners from Highgate, St. Mary, who are doing tremendous work by empowering the young people of their community, through their Jayecan Initiative.

These young people are part of the wind of change blowing over our nation. They are the ones who are fixing what is wrong in our country by doing what is right.

The Governor-General Programme for Excellence through the Governor General Achievement Awards and the I Believe Initiative is a platform where persons are acknowledged for their achievement and leadership within their communities.

This Thursday is the Governor-General Achievement Awards for the county of Middlesex and Custos Thaxter who administrates this programme within your parish is more than happy to supply you with information, especially with the Surry County Awards imminent in September.

I have every confidence that this community will continue to grow and I hope that this and surrounding communities continue to be good examples of peace, good neighbourliness and productivity, inspiring others to strive for excellence. 

I may be far away in body, but my community is always on my mind.  I love my parish and my community, which is why every time I get an opportunity I’m here. 

Let us join hands and heart with this Life Improvement project so that “Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.”