OVERVIEW OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S PROGRAMME FOR EXCELLENCE
The Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence (GGPE) is made up of two components – an awards programme, the Governor General’s Achievement Award (GGAA) and a service-oriented programme, the I Believe Initiative (IBI).
The GGAA began in 1991 under the leadership of then Governor-General, Sir Howard Cooke. It recognized individuals (Jamaicans) thirty five years (35) and older who had achieved greatly despite difficult and challenging socio-economic circumstances. They would also have been making substantial contribution to the nation, but were not recipients of National Honours and Awards.
This programme was expanded by Governor-General Sir Kenneth Hall in 2006 to recognize youth ages 18 – 35 for excellence in academia and service, as well as individuals in the Diaspora who were making significant contribution to Jamaica and in their host country.
In 2011 the service-oriented programme for youth, the I Believe Initiative (IBI), was launched by Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen to motivate and inspire young people to believe in themselves to achieve their God-given potential and also to give service to their country. Its mantra is there is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica. Its projects and activities are centred on three areas of emphasis: family, youth and education.
In 2014 the programmes coalesced and became the Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence. The recipients of the GGAA will be recognized on the same basis with the proviso that their community service must include activities which reflect the IBI’s three areas of emphasis.
The GGPE continues to rely on private sector for sponsorship of its annual activities. It also depends on the fourteen Custodes, the island-wide network of Justices of the Peace, “I Believe” Ambassadors and the Team at King’s House for its effective functioning, diffusing its messages and maximizing its impact on the nation.