April 16, 2014

Good afternoon to you all.

Occasions such as this not only permit us to acknowledge and express appreciation for the sterling service of the one being honoured. They also prompt each one of us to contemplate and evaluate our own stewardship and be inspired by the exemplary life of the Honouree.

As Governor-General I have installed thirteen Custodes and it also means that I have had to say farewell to thirteen retiring Custodes and thank them for their service.  This afternoon we do not come to bid you goodbye, we have come to publicly commend you for your service, a service which exemplified the values and principles which are critical to the fabric of our nation and which underpin the Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence. I admired your calm leadership during your period of service, and this admiration will not be diminished.

At the Annual Custodes Luncheon held at King’s House in February 2014, Lady Allen joined me along with the Custodes to commend Mr. Thompson for his thirteen years of committed service to the people of Portland and, by extension, his fifty-four years of service to the people of Jamaica.  Today, thanks to Custos Thaxter, Mr. Johnson and the planning committee, the Justices of the Peace for the parish of Portland and a select group have the opportunity to express their appreciation to Mr. Thompson.

Rick Warren, author of the New York Times bestseller “A Purpose Driven Life” states that there are three things you can do with your life: “You can waste it, you can spend it or you can invest it.” The success of his book enabled him to return twenty-five years worth of salary to his church in 2005 and since then, he has been giving away 90 percent of his income to needy persons.  I say that to that our honoree today has invested his life wisely and have served Jamaica well. Such was your service in the Jamaica Constabulary Force that you were one of only six persons who moved directly from the rank of Constable to that of Commissioner of Police. What an achievement!

The parish of Portland is also blessed to have committed, loyal scientists, inventors and judges among others, whose lives continue to impact our nation.  Mr. Thompson is included in this group of Portlanders who have proven that we can dare to dream big and that we will achieve our dream when we are prepared to work hard and be guided by the good old Portland values. I believe he will say that the road was never easy, that there were times of failure and frustration, but he kept his eyes firmly on his goal and on what could be achieved.  He believed in himself and his potential to succeed, which is precisely the message that we can achieve our full potential when we believe in ourselves, which the “I Believe” Initiative consistently promotes.

As Custos Rotulorum for this parish, Mr. Thompson was relentless in his advocacy and support for its social and economic development.  He knew how to build team spirit and motivate people to volunteer time and effort in service. His concern for youth advancement led him to pay special attention to the Jamaica 4-H Clubs. I can attest to his strong support for the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards and the I Believe Initiative and must publicly express my appreciation for your dedication.  This arose not just from his role as Custos, but from his burning desire to build a better, brighter Jamaica. He is intrinsically kind, gracious, caring and compassionate and these qualities came to the fore during his decades of service to his country.

Mr. Thompson’s interactions with people of all levels have been marked by courtesy, respect, kindness, and thoughtfulness.  He has touched many lives and we trust that they in turn will do their part to touch other lives and ensure that Jamaica achieves its national goals.

Mr. Thompson, Lady Allen and I reiterate our appreciation for your friendship and the support which you gave while you served as Custos of Portland. We look forward to seeing you from time to time to continue enjoying your company and to be encouraged by the traditional values which you hold so dear.

Lady Allen and I and the staff of King’s House hope that God will grant you many more happy years filled with His richest blessings, happiness and contentment.

Thank you sir and we honour you for your service to Jamaica and this beautiful parish.