Fifteen residents of St. James, who have made significant contributions to the development of the parish, have received the 'Spirit of Independence Awards'.
The awards were presented by the Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, at a Jamaica 50 Flag-raising and Civic Ceremony, which was held at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, on August 6.
Hundreds of residents and representatives from the business community across the parish converged on the City's square to participate in the ceremony, which saw several uniformed groups and marching bands also taking part.
Addressing participants, Mayor Harris said that the mission of Jamaica was a historic one, with August 6, 1962 being recorded as one of the most significant moments in the history of the country.
“It was even more symbolic when the Union Jack was lowered and the Jamaican Flag, in its splendid black, green and gold, was raised, amidst enthusiastic voices singing the national anthem, signifying the birth of this nation,” the Mayor said.
“We have made a lot of strides in nation building. Jamaicans can be found in all spheres, making invaluable contributions in the field of research and development, agriculture and medicine. Our students, athletes and cultural icons have earned international achievements,” he added.
Mayor Harris argued that the country’s remarkable accomplishments were reminders to the popular Jamaican saying, ‘we little but we tallawah’, as the country’s size was never a deterrent to growth and development.
"As we celebrate under the theme, Jamaica 50, a nation on a mission, I implore this generation to continue that mission to ensure that Jamaica stays on the path to achieving growth and development and continue to preserve our heritage for the benefit of future generations. Let us recommit to amplifying our patriotic spirit. Let us all continue to hold our national symbols dear and sacred. Let us recommit to continue on our journey to build Jamaica land we love,” the Mayor implored.
Congratulating the recipients of the awards, Chairman of the St. James Jamaica 50 Committee, Councillor Suzette Brown, said they have all recorded extraordinary achievements in their various spheres of endeavour, without much fanfare or national recognition.
"Today, we in the parish of St. James honour them, giving testament to the fact that there is joy in work and there is no happiness, except in the realisation that we have accomplished something," Councillor Brown said.