KINGSTON, Jamaica – More than 130 outstanding Jamaicans were recognised for the significant contributions they have made to nation building, at the National Honours and Awards ceremony, held on the lawns of King’s House in St. Andrew, on October 18.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who presided over the function, presented the 136 awardees, including members of the uniformed groups, with their awards in the categories of Order of Jamaica (OJ); Order of Distinction in the ranks of Commander (CD) and Officer (OD); the Medal of Honour for Meritorious Service; and the Badges of Honour for Meritorious and Long and Faithful Service.
Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding and Opposition Leader, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, headed the list of dignitaries and other guests who attended the function.
The Very Reverend Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon, founder of the Mustard Seed Communities, was one of the five persons bestowed with the nation’s fifth highest honour – the OJ. Monsignor Ramkissoon was honoured for service to community development and the care of the poor and disadvantaged.
Following the ceremony, Monsignor Ramkissoon told JIS News that he was humbled and grateful to have been given the award, and pledged continued support of the less fortunate members in society.
“I think it is very beautiful, because the award is really on behalf of the amazing staff at Mustard Seed (Communities) and the children and the people who look after (them). I’m kind of just one of the units they chose to give the award to, but the work is done by the people behind us and it will help us more in raising funds, in trying to get support for the recognition, so that we can continue to do our work,” he said.
Other recipients of the OJ were Dr. Marshall Hall, for public service and contribution in the fields of agriculture, industry and education; Arnold Foote, for service in advertising, sports and diplomacy; Professor Emeritus Sylvia Wynter, for service to education, history and culture; and Ambassador Sue Cobb received an honorary award for service as United States Ambassador to Jamaica and her continuing efforts to promote Jamaica’s interests and support for development.
Additionally, 18 persons were conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD), including Dr. Marion Bullock-DuCasse, for service to the heath sector, particularly in the field of Emergency and Disaster Management.
She told JIS News that she felt very privileged to have been bestowed with the award, noting that it was an honour to be recognised for service to one’s country.
“Serving people in general, that is what I live for and what I enjoy. So to be recognised for it is just so special. Today I am really elated,” she said.
Among those bestowed with the Order of Distinction, Commander class was Ken Chaplin. He was honoured for achievements in journalism, public service and sports. Other honourees included the Hon. Mr. Justice Howard Cooke for service to the judiciary; Joseph Mayer Matalon for contribution to the private and public sectors and community service; while Karl Young was honoured posthumously for contribution to broadcasting and the promotion of reggae music.
Lee Roy Bailey, Major Frederick Barnett and Carlton Chin were among 29 persons, who received the Order of Distinction in the Officer class (OD).
The list also included Merline Daley, who was awarded for her contribution to the insurance industry, local government and community development; Barrington Gordon for contribution to broadcasting; Lorraine Fenton for contribution to athletics; and Cleveland Stewart for contribution to public service and community development.
Meanwhile, the Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service was conferred on 17 persons for their contribution to community service and development, education and public service; and 25 others received the Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service.
Three Jamaicans were conferred with the Badge of Honour for Gallantry, including two members of the uniformed service, who received the award posthumously. They were Constable Jason Davis and Sergeant Wayne Henriques for their courage in going to the assistance of injured colleagues, who had come under heavy gunfire from criminals in the vicinity of Excelsior High School on May 23, 2010.
The third awardee was Annette Howard, who was recognised for providing assistance to passengers who were aboard American Airlines Flight number 331, which crash landed at the Norman Manley International Airport on December 22, 2009.