Paul Barnett, who moved to Canada 52 years ago after completing Ardenne High School, is the 2019 recipient of the Governor General’s Achievement Award for the Diaspora (Canada).

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen presented the award during the eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, held at Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on July 17.

Barnett was recognised for contributing to education, youth, and leadership development.

He, since 1993, has been aligned with organisations that assist minority young people to obtain academic scholarships, hone their professional skills and excel at sports.

Barnett has been instrumental in helping hundreds of Afro-Caribbean students gain admission to tertiary institutions. He also helps them with food and clothing – when necessary.

Barnett is part of the team that, in 1992, formed the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (Toronto), which comprises 52 alumni organisations that work as a joint charitable body for schools in Jamaica.

He, while urging Jamaicans living in Canada to register their schools with the Alliance, explained how the Alliance works. “A company will call us and say ‘we have 300 computers’. We then send out a note to see what schools are looking for computers, which we divide amongst the schools,” he said.

Barnett, in the meantime, was a founding member of the Ardenne Alumni Association.

He is also integrally involved in a mentorship programme that enables students to access the Emerging Global Leaders Jamaica (EGLJ) programme, which he established in 2013. He later set up EGLJ clubs in various high schools across Jamaica.

Barnett serves on numerous Boards, and has been appointed by the Ontario Government to serve on the Safety and Correctional Services Boards.

He is the recipient of several awards, including the Volunteer Award from the Government of Ontario, the Outstanding Jamaican in Canada Award, and the Jamaican Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation.

Barnett was among four members of the diaspora who, this month, received the Governor General’s Achievement Award.

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By Mills