It is my pleasure to welcome you to another I Believe Initiative Luncheon and induction of Ambassadors.
At this time of the year, many people undertake a ‘Year in Review’ exercise. At the annual IBI Luncheon, I usually like to take a few minutes to reflect on the achievements and activities of the Programme. This year has been very active and eventful. Our IBI Ambassadors were involved in a number of activities, and I would like to highlight a few of them:
• Last December, IBI Ambassadors suggested that we use Human Trafficking as the theme of this year’s Youth Consultative Conference. They were so on point as this subject has become widely discussed and you saw the interest, which was generated at the Conference last week.
• In August, four IBI Ambassadors received Chevening Scholarships to the United Kingdom. They are:
i) Miss Najuequa Barnes
ii) Miss Tishauna Mullings
iii) Mr. Odayne Haughton
iv) Mr. Abrahim Simmonds
• Mr Simmonds was appointed to the Board of The Governor-General Jamaica Trust and heads the Information Technology and Marketing Sub Committee.
• In June, IBI Ambassador Neville Charlton hosted a successful Youth Inspiring Positive Change Awards.
• A total of 24 students were beneficiaries of J$17 million in tuition fees and grants, which were awarded to them at the 2019 Summer of Service presentation in August. These SOS recipients now understand some of the core values of the IBI – volunteerism, caring about others, and making sacrifices to help others and themselves succeed.
• In September, the IBI partnered with the Adventist Laymen’s Services International for Campus Weekend conversations with freshmen University students at King’s House. The facilitators, Executive Life Coach Dr. Lisa Walker and her husband Dr. Peter Walker, a Senior Vice President of Visa, are Jamaicans living in Atlanta, and they also were inducted as IBI Ambassadors.
• Dr Tameka Stephenson, a GGAA recipient, has been hosting a Back-to-School Health Fair each year for the past two years. Lady Allen attended the Fair in September this year and was very impressed with how well it was organized as well as the overwhelming response from the residents in Greenwich Town.
• Some Ambassadors were also involved in a number of programmes, which are of a civic nature. I encourage you to use the platforms available to you to further broaden the IBI’s reach and visibility.
• As you can see from your Programme, five of our Ambassadors will report on their projects, and I look forward to hearing about their achievements.
• I wish to remind IBI Ambassadors to submit regular updates regarding the execution of your projects. Keep the GGPE Secretariat in the conversation, tag us, like us, follow us on Social Media. Stay connected. Let us know about your activities so that we can share in the joy of your success.
Last month, I received a beautiful Thank You letter from IBI Ambassador, Leneka Rhoden, who is Summer of Service Scholarship Winner for 2014. She wrote:
“When I entered the I Believe Initiative in 2014, I was welcomed into a family who invested in my all-round growth . . . I am grateful to the IBI not only for contributing to my personal and professional growth but for awarding me a Summer of Service Scholarship. . . I was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Biology and International Relations (Upper Second Class Honours). It was not an easy journey, but Your Excellency, I utilized my God-given potential and was able to rise. In the end, because of my academic performance, I was awarded the prestigious Departmental Scholarship to pursue a Master of Philosophy degree in Environmental Biology. I want to express my sincere gratitude to you and the hardworking team of the Governor-General’s Programme For Excellence (GGPE) .”
Ladies and Gentlemen, that is why we are here today and pressing on with the Programme.
The idea of the I Believe Initiative was conceived in 2009 and after months of reviewing Concept Papers, meeting stakeholders, and leading brainstorming sessions, the Programme was officially launched in 2011. As they say, “the rest is history.”
I am so gratified that this germ of an idea has gained traction. So many young people have contacted our staff, sent email messages, and posted queries on our Social Media platforms asking how they can become IBI Ambassadors.
When I meet with Diplomats on Courtesy Calls and the conversation leads to The Governor-General’s Social Programmes, invariably the IBI elicits interest and pledged support. One Embassy has thrown full sponsorship support behind the program, and we appreciate theie interest and contribution.
While we pay tribute to our Ambassadors, we recognize our loyal partners and sponsors who have supported us throughout our GGPE journey. Some of our Major Sponsors are:
• Jamaica National Group
• Victoria Mutual Foundation
• JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation
• Jamaica Broilers Group
• The Gleaner
• Scotia Jamaica Building Society
• University of the West Indies
• University of Technology
• Caribbean Maritime University
• The Mico University College
• Northern Caribbean University
• St Joseph’s Teacher’s College
• Sandals Foundation
• First Regional Cooperative Credit Union
• Derrimon Trading
• Kingston Bookshop
• NCB Foundation
• National Integrity Action
• Mr Mark Gonzales – Lay Magistrates Association of Kingston
• Mr Hugh Osborne – Caribbean Ocean Logistics
I say thanks again to all the individuals and our sponsors who assisted in the execution of the National Youth Consultative Conference, which took place at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on November 6. The dialogue, the presentations, and dissemination of information around the theme of Human Trafficking were well executed and received.
Ambassadors assisted ably and I commend them along with the GGPE National Coordinator, and her team, the presenters, the Custodes, and the King’s House Staff for the enthusiasm, energy, effort and excitement that pervaded the day’s event. Each year the Conference gets better and better and I look forward to the 2020 iteration.
I am truly grateful for the support of our sponsors and the commitment of our Ambassadors. Thanks to the Media for publishing the successes and gains of the Initiative.
I invite Jamaicans at home and abroad to join us on our mission to empower and motivate our young people so they can use their influence to fix what is wrong in Jamaica.
I am very pleased to induct each one of you as an IBI Ambassador. You will now join the group of 250 persons who have preceded you on the journey to give of themselves unselfishly and unsparingly to serve Jamaica by inspiring and motivating fellow young people to be the best version of themselves by developing their potentials and in turn replicate themselves in others.
I urge you to maintain the enthusiasm with which you enter the Programme, and continue your personal and professional growth and development throughout your tenure.
You will make a solemn vow to do your best and I pray you will not be discouraged or dissuaded from this goal because in the end you will be complete, satisfied, and contented that you finished your task and have run your race well.