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Former Governor-General, the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke, has been presented with the Gold Medal Award, by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), for his outstanding contribution to national development, particularly in the area of agriculture.
The presentation was made at a ceremony, held at King’s House on Friday, December 5.
The Gold Medal Award is given to individuals who have contributed significantly to the development of agriculture, and the advancement of the JAS.
Sir Howard, who retired as Governor-General in 2006, after serving in that position for 15 years, has been associated with the JAS for upwards of 50 years, and served as the organisation’s patron, during his tenure as Head of State.
In a tribute, JAS President, Senator Norman Grant, hailed Sir Howard as an “outstanding leader, teacher extraordinaire, man of the soil, and an advocate for national development.”
“Sir Howard has set the precedence and made an indelible mark on the people of this nation. The Jamaica Agricultural Society lauds Sir Howard for his immeasurable contribution to agriculture, especially through the Eat Jamaican Campaign. The idea to formalise this programme and set aside a day each year when the entire country give thanks to God, was strengthened when Sir Howard, without hesitation, threw the full weight of his office behind the initiative, and made a proclamation, designating November 25, 2003, Eat Jamaican Day,” the President said.
“As a sequel to this tremendous landmark, Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall further declared November 25 each year as Eat Jamaican Day,” he added.
In his comments, Professor Hall described Sir Howard’s service to Jamaica as “exemplary,” noting that his predecessor has “served in virtually every organisation that Jamaica has developed, as part of its national institutions.”
“Sir Howard, without question, not only served the JAS, but has been a long serving distinguished member of this country, and we owe so much to him,” the Governor-General said.
In his response, Sir Howard said that his relationship with the JAS was close and long, and hailed the organisation as “one of the greatest movements that we have had in this country.”
He said that Jamaica could experience challenging times in the days ahead, particularly in relation to food security, and that this could be effectively addressed through increased agricultural production.
“We have the lands, we have the hands, we have the strength of the people, we have the know how…we can produce. I predict that we are going to produce much more food in this country, because we need to grow what we eat,” Sir Howard emphasised.