Public Invited to Nominate Persons for Prime Minister Youth Awards for Excellence

The Jamaican public is being invited to nominate outstanding young persons for the Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards For Excellence.

These awards are bestowed on young Jamaicans between 15 and 24 years of age, who have excelled in the categories of academics, agriculture, the arts and culture, entrepreneurship, journalism, leadership, sports, youth in service, international achievement and youth work.

Chairman, Prime Minister Youth Awards Selection Committee, Ohene Blake, said that in line with the Prime Minister’s recommendation, special focus this year will be on young persons who have overcome great odds to achieve at a high level. These include youth from deep rural Jamaica, inner-city communities, persons with disabilities and persons living with HIV/AIDS.

“We would welcome members of the public who are aware of young persons who are in those particular categories and circumstances who are achieving to bring forward their nominations,” he said.

Mr. Blake was speaking at a media briefing to launch the event on Tuesday morning, December 3, at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), in Kingston.

He informed that the nominations were opened on December 1 and will close on January 15, 2014. “The young persons who are eligible can be resident in Jamaica, or in the Diaspora. We welcome the nomination for any young person who is a Jamaican citizen or national who has excelled to a world class standard,” Mr. Blake said.

Mr. Blake  pointed out that beginning this year, the Youth Work Award category has been expanded and will not only focus on youth organizations, but also on individuals who are either conceptualizing, coordinating or implementing youth work programmes  to an international best practice standard.

He noted that there will be a maximum number of young persons awarded each year to help maintain the level of prestige associated with the Award for Excellence and to showcase Jamaicans who are thinking locally and acting globally. He also announced that for 2014, the Ministry of Youth and Culture will be introducing two new categories in Environment and Climate Change, and Science, Technology and Research.

Mr. Blake congratulated a number of awardees who have since excelled, after they were honoured with the award. These include Olympian, Alia Atkinson; Rhode Scholar, Timar Jackson and Martial Arts Champion, Nicholas Drussard.

Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, who chaired the programme, informed that the nomination process is simple. “You can download the forms from and that is the National Centre for Youth Development website,” she informed.

She noted too, that very shortly the Ministry of Youth and Culture’s website will be up and persons will be able to download from there or simply pick up the form at the Ministry.

“We will also have forms at the Youth Information Centres and at other areas that we will tweet and put up on the Ministry’s Facebook page. We will also be posting some of the things in the newspapers and so from time to time you will be getting updates on what is happening,” the Minister said.

In the meantime, Past Honoree, Simon Preston, who spoke at the launch, gave an overwhelming endorsement of the event.

He said that the Prime Minister’s Youth Award is the highest honour any youngster can achieve in Jamaica.

“Winning the Prime Minister Youth Award for Excellence in Journalism on March 24 of this year was a major accomplishment in my life. It was like a dream come true; hard work really does pay off. Up until now I still experience goose bumps just thinking about it. Winning the award means everything to me. It even cements my thoughts and desires to want to pursue this field and to want to press on in journalism,” he said.

Mr. Preston described the eight and a half months since receiving the award as being rewarding, and stated his intention of helping to build the country.

By Andrea Braham