“The power of one can impact many”
Good afternoon. Her Excellency and I are very pleased to be here with you and to share in this very important function.
As millions of viewers watched the World Cup Football finals held for the first time on the African Continent a few weeks ago, global media took the opportunity to display an expose of life in Africa. Viewers got an understanding and appreciation of the milieu which formed the backdrop for what is regarded as the greatest show on earth.
One such expose carried in the TIME magazine last month, highlighted the story of Twesigye Jackson Kaguri who was born in a remote part of western Uganda. Despite the challenges of his upbringing, he studied hard and matriculated to college in the Ugandan capital of Kampala before migrating to the United States of America where he completed his studies. In the United States Kaguri and his American family lived the American Dream, but he never forgot his African roots.
In 2001 he visited his hometown in Uganda and was besieged by persons seeking help for children who had been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. At the time he had plans to purchase a house in the US with a down payment of US$5000, but he was moved by the plight of the villagers who were partly responsible for the man he had become, that he used the funds instead to make a down payment on the future of the orphaned children. Several years later, what started out as one school increased to two, and students consistently do well on national examinations. He added a farm to the school and library for residents of the village.
Many people would have been overwhelmed by the challenge before them but instead he did what he could to impact the lives of many for generations to come.
Kaguri’s story is synonymous to that of many Jamaicans who have triumphed over adversity and made their contribution to the development of their community and also individuals in particular. I know that many of you who are presented here today for awards are unsung heroes who are identified by your parish committees for recognition.
Today, we honour young adults and individuals over 35 years of age who believed in themselves, their ability to do well and succeeded despite the challenges. We also honour young people who are, or, have made their mark academically and otherwise, and who believe in Jamaica and are putting that commitment into action.
We are going through a difficult period in the history of our country, when decisions are being made by everyone as to the nature and character of the nation proceeding into the future. You might say we are going through the crucible on our pathway to development. It is imperative that each of us gives of our time, talent and treasures for this greater good. Each one of you being recognized this afternoon epitomizes the persistent relentless hope of a people who stick to the task and never give up for God and Country.
Gratitude to Sponsors, Planning Committee
In this vein please allow me to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Hugh Morris and the Custodes and their committees for the tremendous work that they have done in seeking, scrutinizing and selecting worthy individuals for awards.
Our corporate sponsors have been truly committed to this program and are unflinching in their support, even in this time when the demand on their shrinking budget is so great. Your continued support has helped to deepen the significance of the Governor-General Achievement Awards for the recipients, their families and their communities.
Ladies and gentlemen continue to support these awardees and strive to emulate them.
I thank you.