ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL THE MOST HON. SIR PATRICK ALLEN, ON, GCMG, CD AT SPONSORSHIP HANDING OVER CEREMONY BY NEWPORT FERSAN JAMAICA LTD COFFEE GROVE CHURCH OF GOD, MANCHESTER THURSDAY MARCH 11, 2010 AT 11 A.M.

 

Introduction

I am delighted to participate in this very important, real, yet symbolic event. 

My first encounter with Nicholas Powell was in May of last year, at one of three youth consultative breakfasts held across the island.  I recall that when it was his turn to make a contribution to the discussion, he eloquently stated his belief, that as a country, Jamaica should place emphasis on entrepreneurship.   He didn’t leave the statement hanging, but singled out agriculture as a viable business opportunity. 

Nicholas went further, stating that if we removed the stigma associated with farming, more young people would become interested in pursuing a career in agriculture.  

The clincher came when he told his peers that he was pursuing undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering at the University of Technology, while actively engaging in farming cash crops.  You could hear and feel an emphatic WOW reverberate across the room, and, in that one statement, he had personally removed the stigma from farming that he had spoken about earlier.    

The image of the ‘farmer’ loomed larger and more prominent with every word he spoke.   No longer was the farmer an elderly man/woman with a machete and hoe doing back breaking work.  You began to visualize youthful individuals using high-tech methodologies and equipment on a farm that was organised and properly laid out.

I believe that with more individuals like Nicholas involved in farming, the future of the sector is secured.

 

Success in turbulent times

What this young farmer has demonstrated for us is that, it is one’s attitude and not only aptitude which determines the height that one reaches.  It is our attitude especially in turbulent times that determines how well we overcome challenges.  Turbulent times have within them the seeds of destiny, but there are also opportunities buried deep within that must be recognised and embraced.

Despite limited job opportunities and economic uncertainties, the farm operated by a young student entrepreneur, provides job opportunities for approximately eight persons and food security for surrounding neighbourhoods. 

I believe this positive attitude toward agriculture has been replicated elsewhere in the country, which undoubtedly contributed to the 13 per cent overall growth in the sector last year.  The comparative success which agriculture has enjoyed, demonstrates we can do well even in turbulent times.

 

Conclusion

I thank Newport Fersan Jamaica Limited for its sponsorship of Nicholas Powell.  I believe the monthly stipend, agricultural products and services he will receive, will contribute to improving his output and motivate him to work even harder.

Through hard work, imagination and self-motivation, Nicholas has transformed the way many view farming.  I believe there are others, young and old, who will be inspired by this youthful feat.

He epitomizes the goal of the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards’ Programme: to recognise outstanding Jamaicans who, in uplifting themselves, have made a significant contribution to the community where they reside. He is a 2009 recipient of the award.

I must use the words of Confucius to commend Nicholas to all the young people of Jamaica“When you see a worthy man, learn from him.”

I congratulate him and wish him success in the future.  May you continue to be an inspiration for your peers and many others.