WELCOME ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL THE MOST HON. SIR PATRICK ALLEN, ON, GCMG, CD AT THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS’ PROGRAMME PINNING CEREMONY KING’S HOUSE NOVEMBER 11, 2009 AT 11 A.M.

Introduction

It is indeed a pleasure for Lady Allen and I to welcome all of you to King’s House for the staging of the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards’ Programme Pinning Ceremony.

At the outset, I wish to acknowledge former Governors-General the Most Honourable Sir Howard Cooke (who is unavoidably absent) and the Most Honourable Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, for their commitment and ardent support of the Awards programme.  You have done a phenomenal job of identifying and recognising over two hundred Jamaicans who, motivated by a belief in their potential and that of their country, continue to use their talents and skills to make a difference in their communities.

I will ensure that the programme persists in lauding the achievements of Jamaicans at the community and parish levels, as well as those young persons who remain steadfast in their pursuit of excellence in education and other fields of endeavour.  Lady Allen will undoubtedly join me in the process, even as she is doing today.

This is my debut Pinning Ceremony.  Since May of this year, Her Excellency and I have travelled across Jamaica hosting, youth consultative breakfasts with the young people and attending Awards presentation ceremonies at the parish level.   We were thrilled and encouraged by the depth of the discussions and conversations we had with the young people.  They understand the challenges facing the nation and desire to be involved in moving Jamaica forward.

We were also impressed with the stories of Jamaicans who are working hard in local communities and imparting values such as respect, discipline, integrity as well as an appreciation of the value of hard work.

Congratulate Awardees

I congratulate the parish and county awardees of the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards’ Programme.  You are at the “top of the class”.   You exemplify that aspect of the ‘I believe’ mantra which states that “despite our challenges and setbacks, we are a nation blessed with abundant resources and prospects for a bright future.”  You have taken the resources at your disposal including your talents, skills and good character, and turned them into something good for yourself and your communities.  I believe that if Jamaicans and our young people in particular were to pursue excellence in everything, the results would be transformation for the nation.

The journey is not yet complete.   You must continue to go the extra mile and transform your challenges into opportunities to accomplish something remarkable for your communities and all Jamaica to enjoy and appreciate.

Thank Custodes, Sponsors and National Organizing Committee

I extend heartfelt gratitude to the National Coordinator Mr. Hugh Morris, Custodes, sponsors and members of the National Committee of the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards’ Programme, for your continued support of the programme.  The programme could not have been successfully executed islandwide without the many hours you put into the monitoring, coordination and evaluation activities.

A special thank you to our corporate sponsors:

o   The Gleaner Company Limited,

o   Jamaica National Building Society,

o   Victoria Mutual Building Society,

o   Scotia Jamaica Building Society

o   First Caribbean International Building Society

You were a key ingredient in helping to make it all happen.

Conclusion

Welcome once again to King’s House.  It is my hope that you will enjoy this Pinning Ceremony and that you will leave here feeling satisfied and motivated.