It’s always a pleasure to visit the parish of St. Elizabeth. Lady Allen and I have always been impressed by the warmth and hospitality of the people. This parish is known for good farming soil and has justly earned its title as the ‘Breadbasket of Jamaica.’ Its beautiful beaches and unusual attractions make St. Elizabeth an unforgettable destination for local and overseas tourists, especially those who are a little more adventurous.
Today we are here to officially celebrate the achievements, of 14 of our nation’s sons and daughters from the county of Cornwall, who, despite their varying backgrounds and circumstances, demonstrated they have the qualities that make them worthy of recommendation for a Governor-General’s Achievement Award. These persons will join some 200 others who have received this Award since its inception 19 years ago. Among them was Custos Farquharson who we remember today for the work he did for the parish.
The Governor-General’s Achievement Award Programme identifies and recognizes individuals across Jamaica who have impacted their communities. These are Jamaicans from all walks of life: teachers, shop keepers, farmers, nurses, doctors, social workers, and students.
These persons have demonstrated the adage ‘Ad astra per apera’ – Through difficulties come Excellence. They understand that we are all connected, and that a community cannot fully advance until all its members are empowered with the means of improving the quality of life. These are persons who embody the Message of ‘I Believe’.
- They Believe in themselves
- They Believe in hard work
- They Believe that they can actualize their God-given potential despite difficult circumstances.
The recipients of the Governor-General’s Achievement Award have a history of maintaining the work and service for which they were initially recognised. For example, one recipient, a farmer from Manchester, is today considered a model farmer and has received sponsorship so he may continue to grow and sell to assist in supporting his family. He will one day realise his dream of building hurricane- proof greenhouses that will make Jamaica even more self-sufficient in times of disaster or drought. In this way, he will be providing a significant service to the nation.
Another recipient from St James continues to work with children who are affected or infected with HIV/AIDS. She has served in this way for over 15 years and has been a mother to many of these children.
Both persons continue to serve in their respective areas, which is what this Award is about – highlighting the achievements of deserving persons and encouraging everyone to be a part of this Vision of Change for our country.
I am especially pleased about the youth Award which seeks to encourage our young people to work hard, believe in themselves, aspire, achieve and then receive the acclamation.
A word to the Award recipients
When you receive this Award – it comes with great responsibilities. It is an affirmation of the work you have done so far. This is just a refreshing moment to affirm and encourage you not to give up the work you are doing. Continue to fix what is wrong with Jamaica. Use your indomitable spirit, your sense of purpose and ability, to find workable solutions to the many problems in homes, schools, at the community level and elsewhere because each one of you comprises what is right with Jamaica.
I take this opportunity to congratulate this year’s awardees, and acknowledge your collective contribution to the building of your communities and Jamaica. I thank the sponsors, for your long association with the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards Programme. Your participation indicates your commitment to community development and people empowerment, and is tangible demonstration that you believe in Jamaica.
May I also use this opportunity to thank our Custodes and the parish committees, for unearthing and bringing to our attention the sterling contribution of the citizens of each parish.
We again acknowledge the outstanding contribution of Mr. Morris and others on the Team for their assistance in administering this Award.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for sharing these memorable moments with us and best wishes to each one of you.