Twenty-eight (28) young Jamaicans were on Sunday (Nov. 30) honoured for outstanding performance in various fields, at the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence, held at Emancipation Park in Kingston.
Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, in congratulating the awardees and nominees, urged them to be proud of their accomplishments and to remain steadfast in their commitment to the pursuit of excellence.
“Being an awardee or a nominee of the Prime Minister’s Youth Award is an accomplishment in itself of which you should be proud. It speaks eloquently to the contribution you are making. You must go out there and continue to be role models for so many of our youth, who need to be motivated to achieve greatness”, Minister Grange stated.
The awardees in the meantime, expressed joy and satisfaction at the honour.
Shamfa Peart, a 23-year old medical doctor, who was awarded for her excellence in Academics, told JIS News, that she never thought that she would have been recognised in such an elaborate way for her academic accomplishments. “I feel so honoured, especially because I was in the category with such accomplished people. It feels really good to be acknowledged for my achievements. I never thought that I would get this accomplishment,” she gushed.
She challenged young people of the nation to work hard as “greatness doesn’t come easy”.
“What I would say to the youth today is to work hard for what you want and you can achieve great things,” she advised.
The young doctor successfully completed her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Degrees with distinctions at the University of the West Indies. She displayed excellence in the subject areas of Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and has been on the Dean’s list of honour for most of her tenure at the University. She is currently serving as a member of the surgical team at the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding (2nd l) congratulates Romelda Aiken (l) as he presented her with her award at the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence ceremony held at Emancipation Park on Sunday (Nov. 30). Romelda was awarded for her performance in the area of Sports. She is one of the youngest members of the Jamaica Netball team. Sharing the spotlight were Minister of Information Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange (3rd l), Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Information Culture, Youth and Sports, Warren Newby (2nd l) and special guest, Judge Joe Brown, presiding judge of the syndicated reality American courtroom TV show.
Also basking in the glory of her award was 20-year old Romelda Aiken, goal shooter and the youngest member of the national netball team. Romelda, who has been playing at the national level for the past four years, was one of five persons awarded for accomplishment in the field of Sports. She told JIS News that she was proud to be a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Youth Award.
“I am very proud to know that I am a recipient of this prestigious award and for sports in particular. I have dreamt of being awarded for my talent in sports, so I feel really good”, said an excited Aiken, while encouraging youth to be positive in everything they do in life.
“I want to say to the Jamaican youth that you can accomplish whatever you want. However, whatever you want to do in life, make sure it is positive and do it to the best of your ability,” she encouraged.
In 2004, Aiken was named the most accurate shooter and Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the Caribbean Under 16 Tournament. She was the third best shooter in the 2007 World Netball Championship where she was successful in 135 of 147 goal attempts. She also earned the MVP award in the 2008 Trans-Tasman League in Australia.
This is the 10th staging of the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for excellence. This award was introduced to recognise young people who have excelled and contributed to national development and to give them a platform to showcase their achievements in various fields.
A total of 37 persons were nominated with 28 presented with awards in nine categories. The full list of awardees and award categories are: Dwayne Berbick and Michelle Thomas, Journalism; Mark Foster and Noelle Nicolls, Entrepreneurship; Nelsa English and Dave Rankin, Agriculture; Odale Mulgrave, Gavin Powell, Rodean Wallace and Karl Wilkinson, Leadership; Sequoia Thomas, Service; Shamfa Peart and Kevin Williams, Academics; Romelda Aiken, Errol Kerr, Christina Solmon, Kerron Stewart and Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sports; and Andrew Clarke, Nadje Leslie, Andre Morris, Tyane Robinson and Shavi Tolan for Art and Culture.