Good afternoon. I greet you all as we gather to celebrate the outstanding achievements of fourteen individuals from the county of Cornwall who will be presented with the Governor-General’s Achievement Award. The Governor-General’s Achievement Award is counted as one of Jamaica’s most successful and prestigious awards programmes. Over 200 persons have been acknowledged since its inception in 1991.
It seeks to identify and recognise at the highest level, persons from across Jamaica including those unsung heroes who, in their corner of Jamaica, have impacted their communities or inspired others. These are individuals from all walks of life. They are our:
§ social workers
and many others who continuously give service to humanity.
THE AWARDS RECIPIENTS
Those we honour today are persons who have demonstrated some of the core values which, as Jamaicans, we should espouse:
§ hard work,
§ compassion and
§ lending a helping hand et. al.
These values form an integral part of the fabric of our nation and must not be unravelled.
What we can take away from their example is that obstacles and difficulties can be overcome and they actually define who we are and where we are going. They can make you stronger and more determined to achieve your goals. The example set by awardees is also a reminder that there is greatness around us and in all of us. We should use it to improve our circumstances.
Nowhere is the feeling of ‘greatness’ more intense at this time than in the parish of Trelawny. The performance of our athletes at the World Championships in Berlin, several of whom are from the parish of Trelawny, was simply awesome. It proved beyond doubt that as a nation we have what it takes to be the best in the world. We need to believe it and apply the greatness within us in all that we do.
In telling the story of his success as an Olympic Athlete, Pole Vaulter Bob Richards said it is easy to be great because great people will help you, and they are eager to share their experiences and the secrets of their success with others. Mr. Richards recalled that at one time he was a foot away from breaking the world pole vault record held by Mr. Dutch Warmer Dam. He called Dutch on the phone and told him it appeared that his performance had leveled off and that he could not get any higher. Dutch invited him over for a visit.
For three days Dutch worked with him and each time Richards made a mistake he was corrected. At the end of the process, Richards returned to competition and increased his climb by eight inches. His performance improved because he believed that he could do it. He also benefited from someone who believed in helping others.
I believe that each of us is placed here by our Creator to enhance the quality of life of those around us. I therefore urge all of you, indeed all Jamaicans to volunteer in your communities so that together we build a strong and great nation.
A WORD TO THE AWARDEES
I encourage the awardees not to become complacent in well-doing. Your work is not finished. This is a new beginning for you. Use your talents to fix what is wrong with Jamaica. Use your indomitable spirit, your sense of purpose and ability to find workable solutions for the problems at the community level before they turn into major challenges. Don’t let the horse through the gate.
i. I take this opportunity to congratulate the awardees, and to acknowledge their collective contribution to the building of a better Jamaican society.
ii. I thank the sponsors the Gleaner Company of Jamaica and the building societies for their long association with the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards programme. This is a clear demonstration of your commitment to community development, and people empowerment. It also shows that you believe in Jamaica and the people of Jamaica.
iii. I commend the parish committees led by the Custodes, Mr. Morris and other members of the team for their input in making the Awards Scheme a success.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are delighted to be here to participate in this very important function. Best wishes to you all.