KINGSTON — Thirty nine persons, who have contributed significantly to community development, were honoured at the 2011 Governor-General's Achievement Awards (GGAA) pinning ceremony, at King's House on Tuesday (November 15).
Fourteen individuals aged 35 and older received Achievement Awards, while the other 25 received Youth Awards for Excellence.
The recipients of the achievement awards- one from each parish- were praised for their accomplishments in social and economic circumstances, as well as contributions to their communities. Each awardee was accompanied by the Custos of the parish while being pinned by Lady Allen.
The G-G Youth Awards for Excellence recognize individuals, between 18 and 24; and 25 to 35 years old, with an impressive history of academic excellence and community service, complemented by effective leadership skills and an inclination for innovation.
Speaking at the 20th pinning ceremony, the Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen, lauded the recipients and urged them to continue making their contributions at the community and parish levels.
"I would consider them to be ‘I Believe’ Ambassadors. They believe in themselves and use their God given potential to do good, and they have used the lessons of their lives as an inspiration to others," he said.
The Governor-General urged them to continue being inspirational, and highlighted that their efforts have been rewarded.
He noted that, since the inception of the programme, over 400 Jamaicans who have worked tirelessly, “sometimes out of the spotlight, to build communities and assist people…despite challenges and setbacks they may have encountered”, have been rewarded.
The Governor-General commended the custodes and their selection committees, for their “diligent and meticulous” approach to identifying the awardees over the years.
Recipients of the achievement awards were: Karen Grant; Lawrence Stephenson; Lynden James; Arnold Myers; Marilyn McIntosh-Nash, from Cornwall; the late Stephen Chung, Rudolph Green, Mavis Williams, Albert Thomas and Astley Smith, from Middlesex; and from Surrey: Dr. Lydia Grapine; Seiveright Dixon; Joan McDonald; and Wilford "Billy" Heaven.
Rudolph Green, an awardee who replied on the behalf of his colleagues, expressed their gratitude and joy on receiving the awards.
“Born in humble circumstances, we have never allowed this to be an impediment, but have strived to become successful and to give back to our communities (through) leadership, management, project planning, involvement, creativity etcetera,” he said.
The Governor-General’s Achievement Awards Programme has been conducted annually, under the patronage of the Office of the Governor-General since 1991, at the initiation of former Governor-General, the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke.
The Youth Award for Excellence was added to the programme by former Governor-General, the Most Hon Sir Kenneth Hall in 2006.
The GGAA scheme is managed at the parish level by the custodies, and committees are formed to promote, receive and assess nominations from the public in each parish.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter