Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding told young people that they must put aside bad examples of elders and take responsibility for their own actions. He was speaking at the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence on Sunday (December 6) at the Emancipation Park in Kingston where 27 outstanding youth were recognised and 16 received awards.
“Young people must start teaching some of their errant parents that that is not the way we are to live. Start taking responsibility and providing leadership, start doing it in the community. Because you are young, you do not have to be a rude boy. Don’t wait to be led by others, you provide leadership yourself. Demand from the rest of us, demand from the society the space that you need to assert yourself and do positive things for yourself…The future belongs far more to you, take responsibility.”
The nominees were drawn from across the island and selected in the fields of agriculture, journalism, entrepreneurship, academics, sports, leadership, youth in service and arts and culture.
The ceremony was staged by the National Centre for Youth Development, an agency of the Ministry of Youth Culture and Sports, and held at Emancipation Park in Kingston in a three-hour show that focussed on the support families give to youth. The theme Jamaican Youth Embracing Support showcased performances by the families of Levy’s Heritage, Jon Williams, Alaine Laughton, Junior Reid, Freddie McGregor and the sister performing group LNS.
The third fastest Jamaican in history, Nesta Carter OD, received a Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence on December 6 at the Emancipation Park in Kingston. Mr. Carter was the starter for the record breaking 4 x 100 relay team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China. He was one of 16 recipients who received awards in the fields of journalism, leadership, youth in service, sports, academics, entrepreneurship, agriculture and, arts and culture at the awards ceremony.
Admitting that the homes and schools were not without fault, the Prime Minister said that young people still were accountable for how they prepared for their future.
“Our schools are not perfect; they may be deficient in many respects but when you go to school take some responsibility. You go to school to learn, do not spend the time in school and worry about the learning afterwards. Do your homework and take your learning seriously. Read. By reading there is so much more that you can acquire.”
Noting that youth is a central concern of Government as more than half of the nation’s population is under 30 years of age, the Prime Minister said that it was good to acknowledge young people who were leading by demonstrating ambition, showing initiative and using opportunities.
“We honour a number of our young people who have distinguished themselves in their achievements. They are but a sample of a much larger number of young people out there, who are working hard, who are focussed; who are not prepared to be deterred by anything; who are determined not only to make a success of their own lives but are determined to contribute so meaningfully to the lives of others. We are able to hold them up as examples of what can be achieved and as a template of how young people can position themselves; how they can make something worthwhile and useful and valuable of their lives.”
Rise Life Management, formerly Addiction Alert, received the inaugural award that is bestowed on an organisation that has a track record in providing services for youth. Rise Life Management provides counselling and interventions for youth who have substance and gambling addictions and also provides services that strengthen community youth organisations.