Fifty-seven of the nation’s youth, who have made invaluable contributions in various areas of national life, were presented with the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence during a ceremony held on the lawns of Jamaica House on Saturday (Nov. 24).
The award recipients, which include 2017 Miss Jamaica Universe, Davina Bennett; Olympic Gold Medalist, Omar McLeod; and Reggae Girl, Kadijah Shaw, were selected from 200 nominees in 12 categories.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, praised the young people for their exemplary work, noting that their success required selflessness, hard work, sacrifice and tenacity.
“It is therefore only fitting that your country should single you out not only as encouragement and recognition for your perseverance, but as an example to others that they can start where they are, use what they have, harness their talents and aptitude to create something far-reaching and deeply impactful,” he said.
The Prime Minister said it is indisputable that Jamaica’s young people “have been blazing a trail of greatness across many platforms,” noting that the Government will continue to facilitate an environment where all youth can flourish.
“We want you to be your best selves and to live your best lives. We want you to take pleasure in living, working and contributing to the progress and prosperity of your country,” he added.
Mr. Holness said the Government values the input of young people in nation building, and would continue to draw on the expertise of the youth in the Governance of the country.
“We want to work with you. We consider your views and ideas important. We want to involve you in charting the direction of our country,” he noted.
Awards were presented in the categories of Academics, Agriculture, Arts and Culture, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Protection, Innovation in Science and Technology, International Achievement, Journalism, Leadership, Sports, Youth Development and Nation Builder.
The Nation Builder category, which was added this year, recognises youth, who have dedicated unwavering service to volunteerism and the development of communities.
A total of 224 individuals have received the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence since the programme was introduced in 1998.
It is open to persons ages 15 to 29, who are living in Jamaica and the diaspora, who have attained excellence and world-class achievement.
The awards form part of Youth Month 2018 celebrations under the theme: ‘Level Up’.