My Fellow Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, greetings. The GGAA joins with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) to recognise Jamaicans who are giving exceptional service in the Diaspora and in Jamaica. The Governor-General’s Diaspora Achievement Awards was established in 2008 to recognize excellence among persons 18-35 years old and over 35 years. This year’s virtual event is featured as part of the main activities of the 9th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Symposium under the theme “Jamaica and the Diaspora: Stronger Together for a Sustainable Future”.
As we navigate these challenging COVID-19 times, I wish to recognise the invaluable contribution and sacrifice of our people in the Diaspora who are supporting their local communities and in Jamaica. We are one people who remain connected even when divided by the ocean. Just recently, the Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence received a donation of 70 tablet devices from Jamaicans in New York to assist students whose access to education is being challenged by the COVID-19 Pandemic. In a similar manner, some past students of St. Mary High School, living in America, donated over 60 computers to their alma mater’s e-learning centre that was recently ravaged by fire.
The Governor-General’s Achievement Awards Programme provides a platform for these unsung heroes to be recognised and have their stories pivot a wave of inspiration across Jamaica and the Diaspora. Since 2008, nearly 50 Jamaicans have received these prestigious Awards in the Diaspora regions of the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It is traditional that I personally present these awards to the selected recipients during our Diaspora week of activities. I thank the High Commissioners and Ambassador who will deputize for me this year in making the presentation of awards to recipients in the respective regions. Today we pay special tribute to these recipients for their dedicated service; many of whom have been on the frontline during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Congratulations on your award and I hope that you will use this platform to strengthen your service. I encourage you to be guided by the words of our national pledge as you continue to:
“… stand up for Justice, Brotherhood and Peace, working diligently and creatively, thinking generously and honestly, so that Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity, and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.”
Thank you; and God bless you all.