Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
GOVERNOR GENERAL Sir Patrick Allen said that the annual Governor General Achievement Award (GGAA) is geared towards recognising people who, despite the financial challenges, still find it within themselves to improve their lives and also to help others.
"The Governor General Achievement Award recipients over the past 22 years have realised the value of human development over simple national income," Sir Patrick said. "They have striven to develop their own potential and to encourage others to do the same."
Sir Patrick was speaking at the GGAA presentation function for Middlesex, which took place on Thursday at the Gulf View Hotel. The governor general was accompanied by his wife, Lady Allen.
Quoting from popular economist Adam Smith, Sir Patrick said: "The wealth of a nation is its people. However limited the national income, when people and their leaders collaborate in attaining their dream for the nation's prosperity, that transformation will not be long in coming. This is what the GGAA promotes and rewards."
The event was chaired by Hugh Morris, national coordinator of the GGAA, and was hosted by Sally Porteous, custos of Manchester.
It also had in attendance top figures from the parishes of the county of Middlesex, as well as family and friends of the awardees. Those bestowed with the coveted award were Clifford Freemantle of St Ann, Adrian Genus of St Catherine, Lorine Mae Metcalf-Cousins of Clarendon, Winnifred Gopaulsingh-Mair of St Mary, and Sister Una O'Connor of Manchester.
The GGAA programme was started in 1991 as an initiative of former Governor General Sir Howard Cooke. Sir Patrick took over as the patron of the award on his appointment as governor general on February 26, 2009.
The annual award identifies one person from each parish each year who, from humble beginnings, demonstrates a common desire to improve their lives as well as the lives of others. The awardees should be actively involved in community service.
Earl Samuels, assistant general manager for group finance and mortgage operations at Jamaica National Building Society, spoke on behalf of the corporate sponsors of the event. The sponsors for the GGAA are The Gleaner, Jamaica National Building Society, Victoria Mutual Building Society, Scotia Jamaica Building Society, and First Caribbean.
Samuels applauded awardees for their contribution to the nation.
"Despite their own personal challenges, our award recipients did not allow setbacks to deter them in reaching out to change lives," Samuels said. "Through personal sacrifices, they have inspired hope in the face of adversities and provide opportunities for the upward mobility of their fellow citizens."