Strengthen values; protect the vulnerable - governor general
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has called for Jamaicans to embark on activities that will strengthen the country's values and protect the most vulnerable in society.
He was addressing recipients of the Governor General's Achievement Awards for the County of Cornwall at the Everglades Centre in Black River, St Elizabeth, late last week.
Pointing to the educational achievements and distinguished service of the 14 recipients, the governor general underscored that the spirit of volunteerism is important in strengthening values. He says volunteerism has assisted to "keep Jamaica alive".
"Volunteerism builds individual character. It encourages good citizenship and provides the opportunity to gain new skills and talent. It is also pivotal in establishing values, promoting trust and reciprocity," he said.
He charged the awardees and guests to "take the necessary action to re-evaluate ourselves and strive to embark on those activities which will strengthen us and energise our values and protect our citizens, especially the vulnerable".
Also speaking at the ceremony was Maureen Hayden-Cater, managing director, JN Bank, which has been a main sponsor of the initiative since its inception in 1991. She congratulated the awardees and praised the Governor General's Achievement Awards initiative for continually highlighting and emphasising the positive values of Jamaica.
"Despite the obvious and real problems that we encounter, we actually have a lot of positives that can be used to our benefit," she underscored.
"We are thankful that there are people, far more than we often believe, who are making a big difference in our country; people who are making positive changes in the lives of young people and adding value and volunteering their services so that we can collectively grow our nation."
Responding on behalf of the 14 awardees from the parishes of Westmoreland, St Elizabeth, St James, Hanover and Trelawny, Dominic Blair, youth recipient for the parish of St Elizabeth, said the awards serve to motivate him and his fellow recipients to continue to be selfless in their efforts to contribute to the development of their communities and, by extension, Jamaica.
"This initiative has given us hope in our country," he said. "It's a reminder of what we pledge as Jamaicans, and that is: 'I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart; the wisdom and courage of my kind; the strength and vigour of my body in the service of my fellow citizens'."