The Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), a division within the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, hosted awesome fathers to celebrate them. The celebration, “Outstanding Father Award 2021”, held at the Knutsford Court hotel, made the recipients feel appreciated. The event aimed to recognize and celebrate the contribution of fathers to socio-economic, cultural and sustainable development. Twenty-five fathers received recognition and were honoured for their outstanding contribution to our society.
From the beginning, support and applause showered the fathers for their magnificent work. Pastor Sean Williams expressed how honoured he was to receive an invite to the awards. Correspondingly, he also is a past recipient of the award. With this in mind, he proudly stated that he prominently placed the award in his bedroom on a shelf as a reminder every day. Mr Williams desires that we make being an awesome father the norm. He would like to see this award ceremony increase in popularity. He wants to see the national stadium used to house recipients. Equally enthusiastic were all in attendance.
Pastor Williams kept it real by pointing out that fathers are people, and mistakes happen. Owing to that fact, he made the salient point that there is a difference between a man who has good character and makes mistakes and one who makes a habit of doing wrong. The Pastor urged each man present to be the former example and own their mistakes. A point often overlooked is that it is never too late to influence their children’s lives positively. Accordingly, he challenged the room to look out for those fathers crying out for help in their actions and administer the help needed to empower them.
“Man deh yah” Fathers stand strong
The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, the honourable Olivia Grange, addressed the amazing fathers with a battle cry, “Weh di man dem deh?” The men aptly replied, “Man deh yah!” representing that the men are strong and unified. Minister Grange wanted the room to know immediately how she felt about responsible Jamaican fathers. She described them as “Hardworking! Dedicated! Diligent! Caring! Understanding!”. The Minister expressed that she is convinced that good fathers help build great nations. She remembered the men in her life who have made indelible marks on her journey. She stated, “Personally, I have had several father-like figures that have helped in moulding and shaping the individual I am today, and without their help, it is fair to say, I wouldn’t be the person many of you have come to know.”
To drive passion on the point of male inclusion, the Minister emphasized that the government has put in place many programmes geared to empower and assist men in becoming positively effective fathers of our youth. Two of these programmes are; “Positive Fathering: A Bridge to Enhancing Family Unity and Community Cohesion in Jamaica”. Similarly, the BGA is implementing the “Young Fathers’ Jamaica Initiative, which is being done in partnership with the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation.”
Teaming for our Fathers
Understanding the power of teamwork, the Minister stated that the government needs active participation from society to support our men. With that as the focus, the intention is that Jamaicans will come up with workable solutions for Jamaica. Furthermore, the call is not only for Jamaicans living on the island. The call includes the diaspora. By the same token, there has to be an all hands on deck approach. The Minister then closed with these remarkable words, “A father is not defined as the man who makes a child, but rather the man who raises, support and loves the child with all his heart. Blood doesn’t always make a man a father. Being a father comes from the heart”.
Below are some photos of the event.