Lady Allen and I welcome the opportunity to be with you this afternoon and are encouraged by the accomplishments of our 2015 Governor-General’s Achievement Awardees for the County of Surrey.
We celebrate these successes along with your families, friends and well-wishers.
Our awardees sheer sense of volunteerism, community involvement, and educational achievement is what is right with Jamaica and are part of the fundamental pillars building that brighter tomorrow. We acknowledge this hard work and dedication to community and country.
In 2011, it was said by President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that, there is no higher calling than when a person gives his or her own knowledge, skills, time or resources to someone in need of help or comfort.
This is the fundamental principle of volunteerism and part of the reason our awardees have been selected; their acts of self-less giving and serving others. From Kings Street, to Bull Bay, Seaforth to St. Marguerite’s Bay and other communities throughout the County of Surrey, many lives have been ‘touched’ by our worthy recipients.
The theme of today’s ceremony is “Values through Volunteerism. Impacting Communities: One Community at a Time”.
This is aptly chosen because these awardees understand that through volunteerism, potentials can be unlocked and talents unearthed bringing rewards such as:
· Meeting people and widening one’s network
· Gaining new skills and experiences, and
· Possibly starting a new career
Volunteering encourages good citizenship and provides people with an environment where they can learn the responsibilities of community. It promotes trust and reciprocity and is pivotal in establishing values.
We are cognizant of some of the stark realities and social malaise which we encounter daily in our society, but our recipients stand as that beacon of hope; using their God-given potential to make a positive difference.
In this the 150th anniversary year of the Morant Bay Uprising, we celebrate with you a quiet and steady revolution of resilience and abilities in the midst of declining of values, morals and attitude which confront our people today.
Our awardees did not sit by indolently, waiting for handouts or for others to improve their circumstances but rather, moved on that flame of ambition burning deep within them to make a positive difference. They exhibit the values which underpin the philosophy of the I Believe Initiative (IBI) that rests on the pillars of salient family values, youth empowerment and education and now form the basic criteria for the selection of GGAA recognition.
On the matter of education, you and I know that there is no country in the world which has reached developed status without investing in education. Education is one of the major goals in the achievement of vision 2030, that is why we must recognize efforts in this regard by GGAA recipients.
For the good of our country, we must support our youth doing everything we can to keep them focused. We need to use the platforms given to us to help restore some of our traditional family values where:
· Every village is involved in caring, teaching, disciplining and protecting our children in our homes, communities and on the streets.
· Respect is shown to the elderly and being each other’s keeper and loving our neighbor as ourselves are the norm.
Many of the initiatives of the Governor-General Programme for Excellence under which the Governor-General Achievement Awards and the I Believe Initiative operate would not have been possible without the kind support of our corporate sponsors whom we must recognize.
Year after year they stand with us in promoting positive messages and encouraging the qualities which the GGAA seeks to build.
So, I am deeply indebted to:
§ The Gleaner Company
§ Victoria Mutual Building Society
§ Jamaica National Building Society
§ Scotia Jamaica Building Society
§ Jamaica Broilers
· We also want to express our heartfelt gratitude to our hard working Custodes from this county and their respective Parish Committees!
Custos Bennet, Thaxter, Parchment-Brown and host Custos Fuller.
· I also commend the hard-working National Coordinator, Major (Ret’d) Effiom Whyte and Project Officer, Miss Tricia Grier and the team from King’s House whose commitment is essential to the success of these ceremonies.
I want to thank each of you for sharing with us this afternoon.
Let us like our awardees, become volunteers, messengers of goodwill in our local communities and wherever we are help fix what is wrong with Jamaica by using what is right with it.