Sat | Feb 23, 2019

Honour awardees powered by vision of a better country

Published:Tuesday | January 22, 2019 | 12:11 AM
Recipient of the Special Award in the Business category of the RJRGLEANER Honour Awards, Seprod CEO Richard Pandohie, gives his mother Evadney Pandohie a kiss at the category luncheon at The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited’s Kingston offices yesterday.

The RJRGLEANER Honour Awards were created to honour initiative, courage and accomplishment to individuals and companies that have contributed significantly to the improvement of quality of life in Jamaica, and this year’s recipients fit the bill perfectly.

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis and her team at the Auditor General’s Department are not necessarily the favourites of some government ministries or agencies, but as guardians of public expenditure, their collective value is without question.

For that reason, and for her courage in the pursuit of her duties in promoting public-service accountability among government institutions, Monroe Ellis was presented with the 2018 RJRGLEANER Honour Award in the category of Public Service at the third and final category luncheon at The Gleaner’s North Street offices in downtown Kingston yesterday.

“It is with a deep sense of pride that I accept this award today, but certainly, I do not accept it as my effort [only], but as that of a team (the members of the Auditor General’s Department). Together, we have been driven by a common vision to promote a better country through effective audit scrutiny, and this vision we take seriously despite a constitutional protection that is given to the department,” Monroe Ellis said.

She added that it was important that the department remain relevant to stakeholders, in order to keep contributing to the country’s development.

Petrojam scandal

Last year, Monroe Ellis and her team delivered a damning report to Parliament on the operations of Petrojam and its parent company, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.

Among the other awardees recognised yesterday were the Jamaica Defence Force’s Jamaica National Security Corps, on whose behalf chief of defence staff, Major General Rocky Meade, collected the top honours in the Education category, while educator Ricardo Allen, founder of One-on-One Educational Services, Also got a Special Award in the category.

The National Security Corps evolved from an amendment to the Defence Act, and in June 2018, the first cohort of 250 youngsters drafted under the programme began their yearlong military-like journey to become agents of positive change in their communities.

However, Meade noted that it was important that the programme be viewed as geared towards rescuing not just at-risk youth, “but every young person who is willing and able to positively impact their communities and help develop Jamaica”.

“As you have heard, the prime minister in 2016 outlined his HOPE (Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment) programme and his LEGS (Work to Learn, Earn, Give and Save) programme, showing the importance of youth, and so the JDF took up the challenge to change our normal focus on defence and security and to look at how we could contribute to nation-building.

“In fact, the thought I had was that we can still provide the nation with defence and security by engaging youngsters and reducing the number of persons that we have to engage after they have committed themselves. So we have not abandoned our mandate; we are taking a different approach, adding a new mechanism to reach our youths,” said Meade.

The Business award was captured by the National Commercial Bank (NCB), for its exemplary financial performance, complemented by the effectiveness of its corporate social responsibility activities.

Jamaica’s leading banking outfit, NCB is in the business of becoming more digitally oriented, CEO Patrick Hylton said.

Meanwhile, the Special Honour Award for Business went to Richard Pandohie for his transformational leadership in revitalising the operations of Seprod in agriculture and exports.

Pandohie hailed his mother, Evadney ,who was present at the function, for his continued success, while noting that his duty is to ensure execution of plans conceptualised and to develop a clear strategy with the board to deliver value to the company’s shareholders.

This year’s Honour Awards will culminate in a gala dinner at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on February 20, where the category award winners will vie for the top award.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com