We are here this afternoon to celebrate: to celebrate perseverance, excellence and the rewards of success.  Firstly, let me say that Lady Allen and I are pleased and honoured to have you here at King’s House for this function under the “I Believe” banner.  And we could not think of a more fitting group of individuals with whom to share these moments of inspiration. We thank you for accepting our invitation.   

The Northern Caribbean University has attained global success in the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition 2010, and   I want to commend the two teams from the University for their outstanding achievements. A few years ago, NCU placed 3rd in that event but I notice they were not satisfied with that position and persisted with grit and tenacity until they reached the top and won first place.

This is living proof of what education can do for you if you believe in yourself, work hard and keep focused.  For this modest-size university in a small developing island to be the top in the world in an IT competition is nothing short of phenomenal. And might I also add that for such a small island with so many of our people holding titles with “World” and “Universe” affixed to them, it is amazing and inspiring. 

The Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition was established to tap into, and challenge the minds of young people to see how efficiently they could tackle complex problems, address needs and develop practical, operable solutions.

Team Xormis has shown the world that they are up to the challenge, by producing a match maker which couples significant and pervasive problems with appropriate solution providers.  In this way, Xormis can serve the needs of individuals, businesses, NGOs and the Government by connecting them to the most viable resource or solution that is needed.

Today we can clearly see that there is no better investment that we can make in our children and young people than in their education. These young people have reminded us that we cannot escape the use of technology as an educational tool for the 21st century.  It is observed that more unique information will be created this year than in the previous 5000 years.  In fact new technical information is doubling every two years (Karl Fisch, You Tube).
This is what I will say to the IT winners who are in our audience this afternoon who are bright, visionary, leaders, thinkers, and doers who don’t just let things happen to them, they make things happen: “Change is constantly happening before our eyes. Things are not continuing as they were, and frankly speaking they should not.  You must therefore harness your potentials and give leadership to the nature of that change.”  When I see the work and attitude displayed by young people like you, it makes me feel very good about the future of our country; and it is one of the reasons that ‘I Believe’ in Jamaica.

I Believe

The Office of the Governor-General could not allow this feat to slip away into history without a public acknowledgement and stamp of approval.  I know you have already been honoured by the Government of Jamaica, your University and others, but the tribute we wish to pay you is in the context of your believing in yourself and with confidence stepping up to the plate and delivering when it mattered.  The entire nation can benefit from your experience as you now showcase the ‘indomitable Jamaican spirit’ that we hear so often on the lips of many people.  We must capture this spirit to yield sustained national results.

In this moment, we also want to let Jamaica know that ‘despite our challenges, our setbacks and our despair we are a nation that has been blessed with a rich heritage, abundant resources and the prospect of a bright future’.  I Believe is all about instilling hope in our people.

I will share with you, in a nutshell, some perspectives on the ‘I Believe Initiative’ which emerged on the Jamaican radar as a concept on February 26, 2009 at my installation as Governor-General.  The ‘I Believe Initiative’, under which umbrella we host today’s luncheon, supports select groups and programmes, while advancing the clearly stated priorities of Family, Youth and Education. It embodies the ideal of a Jamaica in which individuals are inspired to believe in themselves, actualize their full potential, and contribute to the building of a prosperous, progressive and peaceful nation. 

I know that there are many individuals, companies and organizations in Jamaica who are relentlessly involved in assisting, affirming and awarding individuals who are demonstrating a desire to succeed and do well.

As an example: On July 28 and August 25, 2010 at  the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards  functions for the counties of Middlesex and Cornwall respectively, we recognized individuals who have contributed  to the building of this nation, including young people who are fixed in their minds and by their activities that they are committed to making their mark in Jamaica.

These individuals, companies and organizations are not distracted by the overwhelming report of bad things that we hear happening daily.  They continue to invest in people, their education and social well being.  These are the things that are right with Jamaica and the ‘I Believe Initiative’ is committed to highlighting them so they can serve as inspiration to help fix what is wrong with Jamaica.

Lady Allen and I are Founders and Patrons of this Initiative, and there is also an Advisory Group that is working on its scope, structure and sustainability.   I cannot say at this time that all the elements are in place for the official launch of  the I Believe Initiative, but because we are carpe diem individuals it was necessary to seize the moment and recognize the efforts of these young people who have so brilliantly unlocked the heart of ‘I Believe’.  They have captured the vision and epitomized the very spirit of ‘I Believe’.

It is my hope that the successes of Northern Caribbean University will be replicated over and over again in the Universities and schools of our nation, as we continue to help our people to believe in themselves and show what they can do for Jamaica.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we are ‘destined for greatness’.  We have already seen glimpses of this in the arena of sports, music, academia, technology and others.

I again congratulate NCU, Teams Xormis and EDUC8 for your outstanding achievements and encourage you to follow your dreams. 

I must also express appreciation to your teachers, coaches, parents, family members, relatives, friends and sponsors without whose support, love and encouragement you would not be where you are today, sitting on top of the world.  Embrace and enjoy what the future holds for you, and give back when you can.

Ladies and gentlemen best wishes to you all and I thank you.