FEBRUARY 13, 2014

A very Good Morning to you!

It is indeed my pleasure to welcome all, not only on my behalf but also on Lady Allen’s behalf,  to King’s House. It is my hope that this morning’s experience will be positive and inspiring for all present, in particular the students.

Although this is the 38th UN Model Assembly Prize Giving Ceremony, this is the first time it is being held here at King’s House and I am pleased to welcome the young people, as this is the home of the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards and the “I Believe” Initiative, both of which set a high priority on quality performance and positive attitudes.

Students, today’s function, ladies and gentlemen,  allows us to reward some of our youth who competed across the island and have excelled in important academic and life skills. Their participation in last November’s Model Assembly which focussed on “Debt Crisis: Indebtedness,” these young people showcased their skills in:

  • understanding and analysing global issues,
  • they clearly articulate their viewpoints,
  • and showed that they can build consensus,
  • and negotiate a compromise, among others.


Their strength and ability in these areas, as well as the training which they received throughout the year leading up to the Model Assembly. I am sure that the lessons they have learnt will prove invaluable as they become the leaders of tomorrow.

As most of you already know, I have an unshakeable belief in young people and their potential to succeed.  That has always been my conviction, but my service as Governor-General has allowed me to demonstrate that, to a greater degree.  The “I Believe” Initiative developed from my inaugural speech in which, among other things, I stated that There is nothing wrong with Jamaica which cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica”. I believe that with all my heart that we can get together and do alright.

Our young people are part of what is right with Jamaica and therefore we, as parents, guardians, educators, pastors and all other adults, must ensure that we hone their skills and talents, and help them to believe in themselves.  We must take seriously our responsibility to them.  We must protect them from abuse and promote their safety and security.

My challenge to all Jamaica in 2009 was summed up as follows:

“We must engage the youth and adapt to a

changing world and the  maturing consciousness

of our young people.   We must believe in them,

train them, and have the faith in them that they will not

betray the values of fairness, morality, and justice

that we have instilled in them.”

Train them, believe in them, and release them into society.

As we congratulate you, students, on your performance at the UN Model Assembly I urge you to:

  • Let your experience leading up to and during last year’s Model Assembly be but the stepping stone for your future development.
  • I want you also, now that you have this experience, to be a role model to your peers, encouraging them to work hard, persevere in their studies so that they too can achieve at a high level, as you have.
  • I challenge you, young people, to believe that you can make a difference now as well as when you become an adult, responsible citizen of Jamaica, land we love.

In closing, I wish to express my appreciation to all those who made the UN Model Assembly such a vibrant and endearing activity over the years.  I congratulate and thank the President of UNAJ, Dr. Lucille Buchanan for persevering with this initiative. I also thank the other members of the UNAJ team. Thanks to the sponsors, teachers, faculty advisors and parents, who have collaborated in support of an event which showcased our youth and their capabilities and have given us a glimpse of some of tomorrow’s leaders.

Best wishes for your future endeavours.

May God continue to bless you all.

Thank you.