The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is confirming that the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence, which was scheduled for Sunday, December 5, 2010 will now be held on January 23 at Jamaica House in Kingston.
Nominees will be presented with their awards at the event rebranded, “Celebrating Youth and Prime Minister Youth Awards.”
Outlining reasons for the date change, Director of Communications of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Oliver Watt said the Ministry had shifted the date for the Awards as part of a review and calibration of the youth development programme. He said the Awards have not been “cancelled or shelved.”
Mr. Watt was responding to an article titled,” PNPYO disgruntled over PM youth award cancellation,” published online by the Gleaner today (December 31)
“The Ministry is committed to showcasing and celebrating youth excellence. Indeed, the decision to re-position the Awards is part of efforts to showcase youth in a positive light more often during the year,” Mr. Watt said.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia Grange had said in an earlier statement that the fiscal challenges during 2010 have had an impact on the budget of the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture.
“But the challenges have also presented opportunities to evaluate our programme and projects and to align and calibrate them to meet the needs of the public and our current realities, “she added. Minister Grange said the annual event will no longer be presented as a youth month activity but will take place in January as a major event for youth.
“I think this is an important step as we create opportunities to shine and sustain a positive light on the youth through the year. Major important positive youth events, more often will help us to change the perception that the youth are a problem, instead of the valued members of society that they are,” she added.
According to the Minister, the event, which will be hosted by the Prime Minister at Jamaica House, will add to the prestige of the awards. Jamaica House has hosted major events and will make a very good, appropriate and cost efficient venue, she stated.
The Prime Minister’s Youth Award is the highest honour bestowed upon Jamaicans between the ages of 15 to 24, who have achieved eminent national and international distinction in the categories of sports, youth in service, the arts and culture, academics, agriculture, leadership, journalism, international achievement and entrepreneurship.
The award aims to motivate each individual recipient through positive re-enforcement and recognition and gives all recipients an opportunity to optimize their growth and development.