KINGSTON — Approximately 150 exceptional Jamaicans were recognised for their outstanding contributions to nation building, at the 2011 National Honours and Awards ceremony, held today (October 17) on the lawns of King's House, in Kingston.
Two foreign nationals who contributed to advancing the country's cause in a significant way were also awarded.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who presided over the function, presented the 152 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.
Chancellor, Ryerson University, Dr. Gladstone Raymond Chang, was one of the six recipients who received the Order of Jamaica, the fifth highest honour.
Dr. Chang has been honoured for his contribution as a business leader and philanthropist in the financial, health, and education sectors.
Following the ceremony, Dr. Chang told JIS News that he was honoured to receive such recognition. "It is indeed an honour, but the fact of the matter is, you are your past and Jamaica is definitely in my past and I can only say that Jamaica molded me into who I am," he said.
He said that giving back is of significant importance and encouraged others to do the same, for the continued advancement of the nation.
The other recipients of the Order of Jamaica were: Hugh Hart, for service to the bauxite and alumina industry and the legal profession; Peter Moses, for service to the private and public sectors and community development; Frank Phipps, for contribution to the legal profession; Molly Rhone, for service in sports administration; and Ambassador Douglas Saunders, for contribution to the public service.
Former Children's Advocate, Mary Clarke, who has done outstanding work in advancing the rights and interests of Jamaica's children, was among the 26 persons who were conferred with the Order of Distinction in the Commander Class (CD).
Other awardees in this category include: Vice-Chairman of the National Road Safety Council, Dr. Lucien Jones, for contribution to road safety; Professor Patrick Bryan for contribution to academia; Jean Anderson, for dedicated community service; Morin Seymour, for service to education and community development; and Dennis Emmanuel Brown, who was posthumously recognised for his contribution to the music industry.
"I feel good. I feel happy that my country has chosen to recognize me in this way and all the more so because it was completely unexpected. Because you don't really work for these things, you do what you have to do," Professor Bryan told JIS News.
Head of the Delegation of European Union (EU) in Jamaica, Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi-Alemanni, received an honorary CD, for his contribution to Jamaica's economic and social development through the promotion of the country's interests in the EU.
Meanwhile, 26 other persons received the Order of Distinction, Officer Class (OD) for their outstanding work in the areas of community service, journalism, music, medicine, agriculture, education, industry and commerce, public service, sports development, law enforcement and defence, and the foreign services.
Among them were: Troy Caine for his contribution to journalism in the field of culture, political history, and Jamaican literature; Commandant Osmond Bromfield, for over 34 years of service to the Island Special Constabulary Force; and Balford Henry for contribution to journalism.
Speaking with JIS News, Mr. Caine said he felt very privileged to have been bestowed with the award, noting that it was an honour to be recognised.
"I wish there will be more people in this field to take up the mantle and carry it to future years and be as equally recognized as I am," he said.
Two brave Jamaicans were conferred with the badge of Honour for Gallantry (BGH), one posthumously, for courageous effort in saving or attempting to save the lives of others.
They are Anthony Johnson, who brought an unmanned truck to a stop, saving the lives of a number of bystanders and motorists on March 10, 2010; and Ralston David White, who died in Canada in September 2010, while attempting to save the life of a co-worker, who had fallen into a large vat of apple cider.
Additionally, 17 others received the Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service for contribution to education, community service, public service, agriculture, religion, health, tourism and assisting the indigent; while 23 persons will receive the Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service.
Three Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers, one posthumously, received the Medal of Honour for Gallantry for bravery in the face of hostile gunfire during the joint military/police operation in West Kingston in May 2010, while 50 uniformed personnel were recognised with the Medal of Honour for Meritorious Service.
These include 19 officers from the JDF; 15 from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); nine from the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) and seven from the Jamaica Fire Brigade.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter