JIS News

Three outstanding Jamaicans, who hail from Clarendon, were on Monday (October 19), awarded for their contributions to the parish and the country on the whole at the National Heroes Day civic ceremony held on the grounds of the May Pen Courthouse.
Those honoured were: Justice of the Peace (JP) Kester Thomas; community officer, Cynthia Harrison; and late scientist Professor Louis Grant, who was awarded posthumously.
Mr. Thomas, in citation read by National Reading Champion for Clarendon, Shamoy Carol, was described as an “outstanding Justice of the Peace, exemplary leader in the church and wider community, dedicated community activist and giver of long and loyal service”.
He founded the Hayes Agricultural Society and the Senior Citizens’ Association in Cornpiece, Hayes.
A JP for more than 40 years, he was awarded the Golden Scale Award in 1998, which is highest honour for the profession and is also a lifetime member of the Lay Magistrate’s Association.
Mrs. Harrison, in the meantime, was recognised for a lifetime of work in improving the lives of others, first as household help instructor at the Toll Gate Community Centre in 1972, where she prepared young women for employment in Canada. She later taught home economics and craft at the Four Paths Community Centre.
Mrs. Harrison was instrumental in instructing a number of youth groups, community groups, and neighbourhood watches in South West Clarendon and in 1991, was the recipient of the Institute of Jamaica’s Silver Medal for Community Service and Cultural Development.
A world renowned microbiologist and pathologist, Professor Louis Grant was an advocate for social change, lobbying for and garnering funding to establish a public health clinic for low income Jamaicans, and was also instrumental in opening the Foundation for International Self Help (FISH) in Papine, St. Andrew in 1985.
Concerned about the tuberculosis disease plaguing the island in the 1940s, Dr. Grant lobbied for and received a grant from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to institute a mass inoculation campaign among Jamaican children and in partnership with Dr. Ronald Lampart, they completed a mass vaccination programme that was credited for halting the spread of the tuberculosis disease.
During his 20 years tenure at the University of the West Indies, where he was a full Professor of Microbiology, Professor Grant was instrumental in conducting research on diseases such as leptospirosis, dengue fever and equine encephalitis, a disease that afflicted horses.
In a career that spanned 50 years in the public service, Professor Grant authored over 90 scientific publications and received the Gleaner’s Special Award and the Pelican Award in 1985.
Mrs. Harrison, is her response, said she was honoured that her hard work has been recognised. “I am one of those persons, who work assiduously if I may say so for myself, but I like to be in the background, so it’s good that others have seen my work and my worth and have done something about it,” she said.
She encouraged others to serve. “It is always good to serve not for recognition not for the cost, not for anything. If you (can) touch the life of even one person at the end of the day that person can say ‘because of what somebody had done for me, I am where I am’ and I think that is how I served,” she stated.
The National Heroes Day function was organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission and the Clarendon Parish Council.

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