Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen believes the annual Governor General's Achievement Awards (GGAA) and the I Believe Initiative (IBI), are important to help overcome the negativity affecting some Jamaicans.
"Together these programmes affirm the contribution of Jamaicans and celebrate their achievements with a view to inspiring other Jamaicans to do well." he said.
Speaking at yesterday's 21st staging of the GGAA at King's House, the Governor General said the awards were twinned with the IBI; the underlying concept for both being that the good in Jamaica can fix what's wrong in the country.
"We need to tell our own stories, too, about how we overcame challenges in order to achieve success," he said. "It is our story of success ... which will inspire the next generation of Jamaicans to climb even higher heights than we ourselves have climbed."
Sir Patrick Allen said volunteerism in Jamaica has not diminished, opining that more people were accepting the challenge to contribute to positive change.
"Long before the inception of the Governor General's Achievement Awards, these awardees have been instrumental in creating social capital and helping other Jamaicans to achieve success in their lives," he said.
Sir Patrick also lauded the sponsors The Gleaner, Jamaica National Building Society, Victoria Mutual Building Society, Scotia Jamaica Building Society and FirstCaribbean International Building Society.
This year, 40 persons were honoured at the awards programme which identifies persons, one from each parish, from modest economic and social circumstance who share a common desire to improve their lives and those of others around them. The individuals must also be actively involved in community service.
There are three categories of awards presented annually. The GGAA Youth Award for Excellence (persons 18-24); the GGAA Award of Excellence (persons 25-35); and the GGAA Achievement Award (persons over 35).
To commemorate Jamaica's 50th year of independence, 14 persons received Jamaica 50th Jubilee Awards of Excellence. This award was for persons who started formal education before 1962. Over 400 individuals have received this prestigious award over the years.
Ian Wong, Achievement Award recipient for St Andrew, spoke for the honourees and said they humbly accepted the awards and felt others were even more deserving
"These awards will be used as benchmarks for us to continue and improve our service to our country," he said. "We pledge to uphold the honour and confidence bestowed on us today."
Speaking for the sponsors, Peter Reid, senior vice-president and COO of VMBS lauded the honourees for positively impacting their communities and the nation.
"Our heroes must be honoured as they consistently make sacrifices for the benefit of others," he said. "True heroes are not just characterised by their selflessness, but for their dedication, discipline, perseverance and truly indomitable spirit."
He asked the honourees to maintain their humility and to stay focused and determined.
"You are the difference which our nation needs," he said.