JIS News

Reggae superstar Bob Marley has been hailed as an international ambassador for peace who created a music legacy, which has continued to inspire hope and creativity.
In a Proclamation declaring February 6 as Bob Marley Day for the 17th year in the city of Toronto, Mayor David Miller said the singing icon courageously “spoke out against oppression, poverty, slavery, apartheid and for human rights”.
The Proclamation, which was read at the annual Bob Marley Day Award show, held on Sunday, February 4 at the Trane Studio in Toronto, said “Bob Marley earned his place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the distinctive reggae beat of music which captivated people of all cultures, changed the history of popular music and continues to bring enjoyment around the world. He was honoured by the United Nations with the Peace Medal of the Third World and by his home country of Jamaica with the Order of Merit”.
Chairman of the Bob Marley Day committee, Courtney Betty, said that the Award is aimed at recognizing Toronto’s multiculturalism and building bridges between all communities, and is handed out each year to residents who have made a difference in the city.”Bob Marley’s legacy has been one of all-inclusiveness and his message encompasses everyone,” said Mr. Betty.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner, congratulated the awardees, noting that the icon was an outstanding Jamaican and musician who stood for peace, love and humanity.
This year’s awardees include five persons of Jamaican heritage. They are Bishop Audley James, Wade “Natty B” Walters, Joe Halstead, Audrey Walters and Simone Soman. The other awardees are Shernett Swaby and Councillor Joe Mihevc.
Past awardees – Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou) and former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Lincoln Alexander – received Lifetime Achievement Awards, joining Canada’s former Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Alvin Curling.
Bishop James, who hails from the parish of Trelawny is founder and senior pastor of Revivaltime Tabernacle, one of the largest churches in Toronto. The church has many community outreach programmes and feeds 500 homeless persons each week.
Originally from St. Catherine, “Natty B” hosts ‘Zion Train’ one of the highest rated shows on CHRY Radio and last year launched the Report Card Awards where elementary school students were awarded for obtaining high marks in school.
Mr. Halstead, Toronto’s former Commissioner of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, now chairs the Festival Management Committee, which stages the annual Caribana festival.
Ms. Walters is President of the 25-year-old Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA).Simone is a 15-year-old singing sensation who was born blind. She says she wants to be a role model for youth who want to follow their dreams. Ms. Swaby is one of the top fashion designers in Toronto and City Councillor Joe Mihevc has been the liaison between the city and Caribana organizers for the past 10 years.