GG inducts more IBI ambassadors
They were not present at King’s House for the official event on Tuesday, November 30, but 16 new parish ambassadors were inducted into the I Believe Initiative (IBI). They were pinned elsewhere by the custodes of their respective parishes.
At the end of the brief ceremony streamed on Zoom, a new chapter began in the lives of Natalie Irving-Mattocks, Gabrielle McDowell, Brittany Forsythe, Janet Richards, Jermaine Harris, Tómori Tomlinson, Serika Sterling, Odane Brooks, Shantae Grant, Jevaughn Gordon, Sejae Burey, Patricia Reid, Deana-Kay Taylor, Marcelle Jackson, Renay Robinson, and Nigel Nelson. This is the 10th cohort, and this year the IBI is ‘Celebrating a decade of action’.
Fifteen other people from various industries and endeavours were present at King’s House to be inducted and pinned by the governor general. They include Jamaica National’s Earl Jarrett, Nicholas Chambers (first IBI national coordinator), Jermaine Johnson, hoteliers Christopher Issa and Godfrey Dyer, Claudine Heaven (governor general’s secretary), broadcaster Archibald Gordon, Jamaica Broilers’ Danah Cameron, Derrick Cotterell of Derrimon Trading, Fred Smith, Bhasker Reddy Sharu, and Rajae Danvers.
In his address, IBI patron and conceptualiser Governor General Sir Patrick Allen described them as “a group of persons who were so integrally involved in the programme that they never officially became ambassadors”. They gave years of selfless service by helping to define and deliver the IBI to many who continue to benefit from the movement. On this our 10th anniversary, there is no better occasion to officially honour them and induct them as IBI Ambassadors,” he said. Custos of Manchester Garfield Green, Custos of Trelawny Hugh Gentles, and Custos of St Catherine Icylin Golding were also inducted.
And, to all the inductees the governor general said, “As we grow in number, I want to remind you that the work does not get easier. In fact, as the adage says, ‘Many hands make light work’. Let us pool our resources and create solutions to the wave of problems affecting our youth, in their family and with their education. Please remember that you hold the key to our nation’s future and as forward-thinkers of this time, it is imperative that you remain connected with your individual communities in building capacity to strengthen community-based interventions.”
Humbled, and excited
In his response, on behalf of his fellow inductees, Nicholas Chambers said, “While we celebrate a decade of action, let our focus remain steadfast on the impact the IBI has had, and will continue to have, on the lives of Jamaican families, youth and education. We are grateful to be identified as ambassadors. We are humbled, and we are excited to continue giving of ourselves to help enhance the life and living of Jamaicans via our creative thinking, our creative talents and our creative projects. We are ready to motivate and, as you have charged, by listening and responding to the issues faced by Jamaicans.”
The IBI, launched in 2011, is values-based and falls under the Governor General’s Programme for Excellence, which was established in 2014 as the secretariat for the two major social programmes affiliated with the Office of the Governor General, the other being the Governor General’s Achievement Awards, established 1991. The programmes were designed to help with focusing efforts on the most critical areas of personal and community development.
The IBI was inspired by Sir Patrick’s inaugural speech in 2009, and “aims to encourage all Jamaicans to develop a sense of self-assurance and national pride”. It was officially launched in May 2011 “after extensive consultations with several focus groups to identify the specific areas of attention and to develop the character of the movement”. Its mantra, ‘Using what’s right with Jamaica to fix what’s wrong with Jamaica’, is buttressed by three foundational pillars – family, youth and education. IBI ambassadors support the successful planning and execution of community-based projects while collaborating on their own initiatives at the grassroots level.
Currently, the county of Cornwall (St James, Hanover, Trelawny, Westmoreland, St Elizabeth) has 76 ambassadors who are carrying out nine projects, while in Middlesex (Manchester, Clarendon, St Catherine, St Ann, St Mary) there are 10 projects and 107 ambassadors. The county of Surrey (Kingston, St Andrew, St Thomas, Portland) has the highest number of ambassadors and projects, 139 and 25, respectively.
The function was chaired by Abrahim Simmonds, national coordinator for the Governor General’s Programme for Excellence, while IBI co-founder and inductee Jermaine Johnson gave a rendition of the IBI song, which he composed from an inspiration he got from Sir Patrick’s inaugural speech.