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Thirty-four Jamaicans, many of whom began from humble beginnings, and have worked tirelessly in the interest of their communities and the lives of others, were  recognised  at the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards (GGAA) pinning ceremony, held  at King’s House, on  November 13.

Fourteen persons, aged 35 and older, received Achievement Awards, while the others received Youth Award for Excellence and Award of 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 Governor-General Youth Award for Excellence recognised individuals, between 18 and 24;  while the Governor-General Award of Excellence recognised persons  25 to 35 years old, who display an impressive history of academic excellence and community service, complemented by effective leadership skills and an inclination for innovation.

In his address, Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, congratulated the awardees for their outstanding contribution, urging them to continue making strides at the community and parish levels.

He said that the awardees are a true embodiment of the ‘I Believe’ message, as they continue to work towards bringing positive changes to their communities.

“The celebration of excellence by the GGAA and the I Believe Initiative is a means of overcoming the waves of negativity, which seems to be engulfing too many of our people,” he said.  

The Governor-General noted that the recipients are a testimony to the fact that voluntarism is “alive and well” in the island, and encouraged Jamaicans to believe in themselves and their goal, which can be achieved through hard work, determination and a fixity of purpose.

He commended the Custodes and their selection committees, for their “diligent and meticulous” approach to identifying the awardees and working with corporate Jamaica to plan and execute the programmes in the respective parishes.

Recipients of the Achievement Awards  are: Aldith Maye-Stephens; Fitz Gerald Rowe; Ivorine Pitters; Uriel Ricketts; and Neville Hines, from the county of Cornwall; Denese Morrison; Supt (Ret) Alice Henry; Sandra Walters; Beverley Boothe; and Lustan Letts, from the county of Middlesex;  and Barbara Blake; Christopher Sinclair; Albert Gray; and Ian Wong, from the county of Surrey.

Responding on behalf of the awardees, Mr. Wong, from the parish of St. Andrew, said they are humbled “that our simple but dedicated efforts to contribute to the improvement of our country and service to our fellow Jamaicans have found favour with your committees.”

Mr. Wong noted that the awards will be used as benchmarks for the recipients to continue to improve their service to the country, and expressed thanks to the awards committee, the custodes, as well as the Governor-General for the recognition.

This year, 14 individuals also received the Jamaica 50th Jubilee Award of Excellence, in recognition of the country’s 50th year of political independence.

Recipients of the Jubilee Award of Excellence are: Lorraine Allen, Rev. Peter Douglas Clarke, Angella Henrietta Brown, Pearlena Blagrove, and Ernest Sterling, from the county of Cornwall; Adolph Murdock, Robert Allen, Leopold Williams, Addison Lankester, and Annette Powell, from the county of Middlesex; and from the county Surrey, Aurleen Williams, Jean Wiess-Douglas, Carole Morrison Reid,  and Carmen E. Tipling.

Initiated by former Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke, in 1991, the GGAA programme recognises persons from modest economic and social circumstances, who share a common desire to improve their lives and others around them, and are actively involved in community service.

The Youth Award for Excellence was added to the programme by former Governor-General, the Most Hon. Sir Kenneth Hall in 2006.

Over 450 persons have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to community development since the inception of the GGAA some 21 years ago.

Sponsors of the 2012 awards are: The Gleaner Company, Jamaica National Building Society, Victoria Mutual Building Society, Scotia Jamaica Building Society, and First Caribbean International Bank.