It is a real pleasure, for me to be joining you in the garden parish on this beautiful summer afternoon. My only regret is that Lady, for good reason, is not with us to enjoy the splendor of nature’s bounty.
Please allow me the privilege to recognize some of our special guests, including:
- Host Custos – The Honourable Norma Walters, and Mr. Radcliffe Walters, Custos Emeritus
- Honourable Custodes of Middlesex County and your Spouses
- Your Worship Councillor Michael Belnavis – Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay
- Ambassador the Honourable Burchell Whiteman – Special Advisor to The Governor-General
- Pastor Omar Oliphant -and other Members of the Clergy
- Assistant Commissioner Norman Haywood – JCF Area 2
- Governor-General’s Achievement Award 2018 Recipients and your families
- Other Distinguished Guests
- Ladies and gentlemen
I greet you warmly, and thank you for journeying with me through the years, of the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards. This is the 30th such ceremony I have conducted since February 2009.
As such, I find it fitting and must confess that, with all my attempts and with all the opportunities I have been given, I will never be able to say how much joy itThis truly brings great joy to me, to see our young people striving and making such a marked impression on our society, and every step of the way they depend on their mentors and earlier recipients of the GGAA Awards to guide them.
at I know for a fact has come a far way: Congratulations and thank you, for being beacons of hope, when we are most in need of them.
The last few months, we awarded a total of twenty-four (24) deserving individuals, across the Counties of Cornwall and Surrey with plaques and scrolls as part of their recognition. Today we ‘make the curtain call’ on this year’s ceremonies with these 15 worthy recipients, being presented for the County of Middlesex.
It is heartening to join our recipients, families and friends to celebrate their achievements. Awardees, you’ve been an inspiration, now I dare you to go out and change the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, during this year’s recognition programme, and Awards, we have awarded some outstanding candidates. One of whom attained 20 units in the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate; another has journeyed from pushing a handcart to becoming Chairman of a school board. Many other individuals have made it through the adversity of rain but avoided the raindrops of negative thought and discouragement, emerging victorious from their experiences, to serve their communities and excelled academically. In some instsnces.
Since 1991 some, 940 persons have been presented with Awards. Thousands of lives and communities have been transformed through the impact of the recipients of the GGAA. This programme is the embodiment of hundreds of stories of hope and volunteerism throughout Jamaica and its Diaspora.
Congratulations to Award Recipients
I congratulate each award recipient and encourage them to continue spreading gleams of hope across our country. You have chosen to be part of what is right with Jamaica through your conscious deeds of kindness and volunteerism. It is said that “Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good it is useful.”
You have done both.
At all the Award Ceremonies this year, I have shared the thought of being #peddlers of hope. At this the final Ceremony for 2018, the message remains unchanged:
Be peddlers of hope:
- In your communities.
- At your places of work or study.
- Offer positive messages while using social media.
- Share opportunities with each other.
- Be peddlers of hope within your own families.
Many times, individuals need reminders that goodness is not an impossible dream, and they can achieve it. Together, we can all contribute to nation-building.
Once again, Awardees, congratulations on a job well done!
I am grateful to my predecessors, who laid the foundation of the GGAA, which we have broadened into the Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence (GGPE). This programme now includes the I Believe Initiative (IBI), which was launched in 2011, and which focusses on Youth Empowerment, Family Values, and Education.
The GGAA is the Award Component of the Programme which tangibly recognizes the work of many unsung heroes and heroines (like yourself) who have not received National Honours, but who are eligible for recognition based on their academic performance /or their service in their communities.
The selection categories are the age groups:
- 18 -24, & 25 – 34 – based primarily on academic excellence and leadership in social activities, and,
- Over 35 years
.Our Custodes give leadership to the programme in the parishes. The recipients are selected by their respective Custos, who follow established guidelines, including verifying the accuracy of applications and the academic requirements of persons in the 18-35 categories.
Please note that academic achievement is not a prerequisite for age 35 and over, but there should be evidence of outstanding leadership through creative, innovative and sustainable community or institutional projects focused on ‘Family’, ‘Youth’, or ‘Education’.
Recognition of Support and Conclusion
Ladies and gentlemen, the goals and objectives of the GGAA have benefitted from the leadership and sound advice of National Coordinators and Advisory Board members whose skills and abilities have been acquired from years of experience in various fields of endeavors.
Many thanks to our Custodes, Members of the Parish Committees, and the King’s House staff for for bringing together all the elements for this programme and for your constant support.
A special thanks to Major Effiom Whyte, for his indefatigable efforts in serving as National Coordinator 2014 -2018, and for being on-board at a time when the GGPE needed the clarity and definition, to be recognized as the umbrella unit of the GGAA and the IBI. (absent)
To our national sponsors
- The Gleaner Company (Media) Ltd,
- Jamaica National Group,
- Victoria Mutual Building Society,
- Scotia Jamaica Building Society,
- Jamaica Broilers Group Limited, and
We gratefully acknowledge and thank you all for your unflinching commitment to the people of Jamaica through the GGAA.
Through this recognition programme and the other social programmes of the Office of The Governor-General, we contribute to achieving Vision 2030 National Strategy #4-1, which speaks to “the promotion of core and transformational values.”
I conclude with the words of Murelda Folks, a past GGAA recipient who observed that “There is no time like the present… We have to give people a chance, and hope they will rise above their situation to make their community a better place.”
I urge all Jamaicans to re-evaluate yourselves, resolve to take the necessary action, and to embark on activities which will inspire our fellow Jamaicans, affirm our values, and energise our people for voluntary service in building a better and brighter Jamaica.
I was on instagram recently, and I saw a quote which I decided DECIDED I would share with you today, it is very simple but hugely profound. and says, “I want to see what happens if I don’t give up”. To all ‘peddlers of hope’, what happens when you don’t give up?
God bless you!