Youth Awards Success Attributed to Collective Stakeholder Efforts


This year’s successful stagings of the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence and Jamaican Youth in Concert event are being attributed to the hard, collaboration and dedication of the hundreds of talented young people, and other stakeholders, who were involved.

Producer of the Awards, Gregory Simms, says he is satisfied with the opportunity afforded him to work with a number of young, talented musical artistes and entertainers, among others, in organizing both events, and the resulting outcome.

“It gives me a lot of hope for the future; it gives me a lot of satisfaction to know that it was an event run by young people,” he says of the events, which were held at Emancipation Park, St. Andrew, on Sunday (March 24), under the theme: “Youth on a Mission…Project 2062.”

The events were spearheaded by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), a department of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, under the auspices of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the Ministry. It also featured collaborative inputs from several Ministries, Departments, Agencies, and uniformed groups.

Mr. Simms, the JCDC’s Music Specialist, says the over 300 participants, comprising ushers and stage assistants, among others, were all young people. This group, he points, included the Master of Ceremony and media personality, Deborah ‘Debby’ Bissoon, and co-announcer at the function and National Awardee in Music, Jomo Dixon.

The young producer states that, save for a few glitches, both events were well-executed over the two and a half hours in which they were staged

“It speaks volumes to what young people can accomplish when we put our minds to it. So I am really grateful for the team that worked with me,” Mr. Simms adds.

Regarding the concert performances, the 2008 nominee for the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence, has high praise for the 100-piece Immaculate Conception High School Symphony Orchestra, which enthralled the audience with musical renditions from the movie franchise: “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

He also lauds performances by the Institute of Jamaica Junior Centre East Street Drummers; Gospel singer, Kevin Downswell; Silver Birds Steel Band; Jamaica Youth Chorale; and the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC).

Other performers getting special mention include: the Blue Print Band; Remone Watson; Christopher Martin; and the Arts and Culture winner of the Prime Minister’s 2012 Youth Awards for Excellence, Romain Virgo. An exhibition, featuring JCDC Visual Arts Youth Awardees and students of the Edna Manley College for the visual and performing arts, was also among the highlights for the evening.

Mr. Simms says the Youth Awards segment, jointly funded by the Government of Jamaica and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, was executed within budget.

“It really was because of the great cooperation with all the suppliers and all the performers,” he notes, adding that the majority of the performers were eager to support the event and, as such, gave pro bono work.

He informs that the nominees and awardees were drawn from the Prime Minister’s list of Youth Awards for Excellence for 2011 and 2012. “We did two years in one show. A short show that still had all the information that we needed to share,” Mr. Simms proudly states.

Since its inception in 1998, the Youth Awards have been presented in recognition of excellence achieved by young people in Academics; Agriculture; Entrepreneurship; the Arts and Culture; Leadership; International Achievement; Sport; Youth in Service; and Journalism.

By Elaine Hartman Reckord, JIS Reporter

JIS Social