Seventy-nine young people who have made outstanding contribution in various areas were presented with the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence, during a ceremony held last evening (December 6) on the lawns of the Office of the Prime Minister.
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, and Youth Development, and there was a special Jamaica 55 award.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in his address, congratulated the recipients and those shortlisted.
He encouraged then to continue to excel. “Our progress, our prosperity [and] our destiny is unstoppable. I say to all the young people; continue to work hard, continue to put out that effort, keep on doing it for the love, not for the likes,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that Jamaica owes a debt of gratitude to its young people who do consistent and commendable work in their communities “to propel our nation to achieve Vision 2030”.
“It is imperative that our youth know that this Government acknowledges their efforts and achievements in helping to build our great nation,” he pointed out.
He noted that over the years, hundreds of youth between the ages of 15 and 29 have been recognised and have also been promoted to positions within the private and public sectors “because these awards have shone light on their aptitude, ability to innovate and capacity to encourage and agitate for change in our society”.
State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, said the Government is pleased to host the ceremony, after a three-year hiatus, in order to celebrate the achievements of the country’s youth.
“Too often, the stories we hear about our young people are stories of young people in difficulty, stories of young people who are not doing well. We want to tell the stories of our youth who are doing well, who have persevered despite difficult circumstances, and there are so many circumstances and so many stories here to be told today.”
“You are truly an inspiration, and the fact that you are here means your work has had impact on our country and we want to appreciate that. Whether you win or not tonight, whether you get an award or not, the fact that you have been nominated means you’re doing something right,” Mr. Green said.
He told the young people that he, too, was once a nominee, but was not selected for an award.
“A few years ago, I sat where many of you sit today. I was nominated for a PM Youth Award in the category of Leadership. I was so grateful that the service I was given was noticed, that I was appreciated, and it encouraged me to serve even more. Not winning spurred me to work a little harder, and clearly I have moved from not winning to staging the awards,” he said.
Among the award recipients are Jamar ‘Chronixx’ McNaughton, and Chevoy ‘Kool Ravers’ Grant in the category of Arts and Culture; and Elaine Thompson, O’Dayne Richards and Darren Mattocks for sports
By: Ainsworth Morris