Remarks by the Governor-General His Excellency the most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, ON, GCMG, CD at the surrey youth consultative brunch 28 October, 2010

The real strength and pillars of this nation are the energetic, bright, dynamic, and enthusiastic young people who play an important role in nation-building.  This morning we want to hear from you, our future leaders.  Lady Allen and I welcome you, and thank you for accepting the invitation to be here to continue the conversations in these series of Youth ‘I Believe’ Consultations. 

I believe you represent real opportunities for how we can build better communities and a better nation.  You have hopes, dreams, goals, and passions – for yourselves and for Jamaica. We want to hear some of them and see what advice we can offer you in accomplishing them. 

In each of you is a core identity; an engine of purpose that is a source of essential meaning in this world.  This you must believe individually and collectively. Achieving your goals to a large extent depends on the confidence that you place in your ability to attain them. As we dialogue this morning, an important question you must all ask yourselves is, “Do you believe that you can become what you plan to be?”

There are many bad and discouraging things happening in Jamaica and the world now – economic, social, educational, family and spiritual. All of these you will encounter and surmount if you are going to succeed.  If not, you fall in the cracks and become another person who could have made it but did not. 

As I look at the faces of all the young people seated before me, I recall the words of a popular motivational song:

“I am a promise, I am a possibility,
I am a promise, with a capital P.
I am a great big bundle of potentiality.
And I’m learning to hear God’s voice,
And I’m trying to make the right choice,
I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.”

If you identify yourselves as a promise with possibilities and potentialities, it is important that you look at the ways in which you can positively affirm that identity.
•    You are a promise for productive development
•    You are the promise for transformation and effective change in socio-economic management and accountability.
•    You hold the potential for the building of a brighter future for yourselves and your country.
Naturally, if you are to be the agents of change then you must be aware of the resources you have at your disposal with which to make positive impacts. It is easy for all of us to be more concerned with the obstacles in our way than in the opportunities that exist to overcome them. Recognise that a positive attitude, not aptitude, will determine your altitude.  So, always persevere in realizing your goals, and recognize that as a nation, “we have the tomorrows of limitless opportunities and limitless possibilities ahead of us…”

Moving Forward
Young people, as this country moves forward, I want you to always remember that national development cannot happen without you.   Despite the economic hardships and other problems facing Jamaica at this time, it is still a blessed country and you are a critical part of the process of the healing, restoration and ultimately the prosperity of this nation.  

Prepare yourselves by taking advantage of the opportunities for education and training in a variety of areas.  I was recently at the National Skills Competition and the talents that were on display were a wellspring of hope for the future of Jamaica.  Ask yourself about your skills and your strengths. Identify and use them. Your education, your families, your communities, your institutions; all of these are avenues whereby you can release and employ the potential in each of you.

Get involved at the school and community levels and release that potential.  Join a youth club such as the Student’s Council, Key Club, Police Youth Clubs, Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Pathfinder Clubs and many others. The leadership training you will receive in these organisations will equip you to participate and contribute in the transformation of Jamaica. 

I thank Custos Harding, Honourable Custodes, Mr. Morris and the Planning Committee, the teachers and students and the sponsors, for facilitating this Youth ‘I Believe’ Consultative Brunch for the County of Surrey.

We have here represented the ‘cream of the crop’ of young people from schools, youth and community groups. I look forward to a lively and informative discussion.

So, let us talk!