JIS News

An 11-year-old student is the youngest recipient of the Bob Marley award handed out each year in Toronto, Canada.
Christine Exeter, who excels in both soccer and tennis, was among seven recipients at an event where Toronto’s Mayor, David Miller proclaimed February 6 as Bob Marley Day. Not only is Christine captain of her soccer team which has maintained first place in its division over the last three years, she has also managed to maintain a high academic average.
Reading her acceptance speech in English and French, Christine said she wanted to be “the best professional soccer and tennis player I can be and also an orthodontist so that I can help people.”
The Bob Marley Awards are given to Canadians who through their works have elevated the city of Toronto. Each year a committee headed by Jamaican-born lawyer, Courtney Betty chooses the candidates.
The other recipients this year, who received the Award from Mayor Miller, were businessman, Michael Lee-Chin; magazine editor, Suzanne Boyd; Staff Inspector, Peter Sloly; radio personality, Farley Flex and IT consultant, Barry Walsh.
Ontario’s newest Speaker of the House, Jamaican-born, Alvin Curling was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Curling, a previous Bob Marley awardee, has racked up a number of firsts in the political arena. He is the first black Speaker of the Ontario Legislature and was first elected in 1985 as a Member of Provincial Parliament with the highest total votes in Canadian history.
Mr. Lee-Chin, Chairman of the National Commercial Bank and Chief Executive Officer of AIC Ltd., is ranked among Canada’s 15 richest citizens. A shrewd businessman and generous benefactor, he recently donated $5 million to his alma mater McMaster University, $10 million to the University of Toronto and last year $30 million to the Royal Ontario Museum, a contribution which “will change the face of Toronto and sustain an invaluable cultural and educational legacy for Ontario and Canada.”
Accepting his award, Mr. Lee-Chin said he felt inordinately blessed as a human being and thanked both Jamaica and Canada for where he was today.
Jamaica gave him a scholarship at age 11, he said, referring to the Common Entrance. “I am forever grateful to Jamaica and I want to see that country elevated to its rightful place,” he said.
He called Canada a compassionate country and a role model for the world.
Mr. Lee-Chin said he came to Canada only by chance in the 1970s, because he had planned to attend the first university, which accepted him. In Canada he found “civility and a genteel country.”
Ms. Boyd was appointed Editor-in-Chief of Flare Magazine in 1996, the first black woman in Canada to head a major magazine. In seven years, she has maintained Flare’s position as Canada’s best selling fashion magazine. She is about to leave Flare to become the founding Editor-in-Chief of a new publication being launched in conjunction with Suzanne Taylor of Essence Magazine.
Another recipient, Jamaican-born, Peter Sloly has been a police officer with the Toronto police service for the past 15 years. In 2001, he became the first and only Toronto senior officer to participate in a United Nations peacekeeping mission when he served in Kosovo.
Farley Flex is the Vice President of Business Development at Flow 93.5 FM, Canada’s first urban music station. He was also one of the judges of the popular television show, Canadian Idol. Noting that 23 years after his death, Bob Marley’s songs were just as powerful as ever, Mr. Flex said it was one of the reasons why the first song that was played when Flow went on the air three years ago was “Roots, Rock, Reggae.”
Jamaican-born, Barry Walsh, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Bevertec CST Inc., a 20-year-old company which provides Information Technology Consulting Services. Mr. Walsh who migrated to Canada more than 35 years ago, credits his success to hard work and being flexible.

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