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  • Friends, colleagues and family members of Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, on Monday evening (October 21), celebrated his Order of Jamaica (OJ) award, which was presented to him earlier at a ceremony at King’s House.
  • Mr. Henry received the country’s fourth highest award for 40 years of distinguished service to public service, politics, and public policy development.
  • During the celebratory reception in the Gardens, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, he was toasted for being one of the longest serving Members of Parliament, for being the first businessman to bring the hamburger (then called Nyamburger) to Jamaica, and also for his work in the area of reparations, sports, publishing and intellectual property rights.

Friends, colleagues and family members of Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, on Monday evening (October 21), celebrated his Order of Jamaica (OJ) award, which was presented to him earlier at a ceremony at King’s House.

Mr. Henry received the country’s fourth highest award for 40 years of distinguished service to public service, politics, and public policy development.

During the celebratory reception in the Gardens, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, he was toasted for being one of the longest serving Members of Parliament, for being the first businessman to bring the hamburger (then called Nyamburger) to Jamaica, and also for his work in the area of reparations, sports, publishing and intellectual property rights.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who was present with his wife, the Most Hon. Juliet Holness, told the gathering that Mr. Henry was most deserving of the award, as he has been a champion for the poor and has given the best of his life to Jamaica.

“It is very important to acknowledge service, acknowledge excellence, acknowledge people who have achieved in their own right, but to also acknowledge persons who have fought great odds, persons who have persevered against great challenges and persons who have stood up for their principles, for their morals, for the philosophy sometimes, for the ethos of the society, and on all accounts on which such an award could be given, Mike Henry qualifies,” he said.

“So tonight, Mike, we honour you, because you represent the best of Jamaica. You represent strength and courage – the courage to fight for what you believe in. And you were never a selfish man, because what you fought for was equity. What you fought for was in defence of the people who did not have a voice,” the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister also commended Mr. Henry for his relentless advocacy for reparations and the development of Vernamfield, noting that he is always willing to stand up for his convictions.

“Before reparations became popular, he was the champion of reparations. But reparations is a big issue now. It is an issue that is presently being debated in the United States Congress. They are considering legislation on how to treat with it. But Mike was a champion of that long before it was fashionable,” Mr. Holness said.

As it relates to Vernamfied, the Prime Minister said the Government remains committed to the vision for Vernamfied and promised that he will bring the vision forward, because it makes economic sense and can be a driver of growth.

For his part, Custos of Clarendon, Hon. William Shagoury, said Mr. Henry has the kind of passion that is deeply grounded in faith and confidence in his fellow citizens, all in the name of the pursuit of a better life for his countrymen and women.

“It is, therefore, only fitting that he should be given one of the highest honours in the country for his service to nation-building,” he said.

Meanwhile, Councillor Joel Williams, of the Denbigh Division in Central Clarendon where Mr. Henry is Member of Parliament, lauded him for remaining resolute in his desire to represent the people.

“There were times when you were vilified, but you stayed committed to your people that you represent. This evening, on behalf of Central Clarendon, I want to say to you, we are proud of you. We thank the Government of Jamaica for honouring you the way it has done and will continue to give you the support that you need,” he said.

Opposition Spokesperson on Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, was also among those toasting Mr. Henry.

“From my perspective, whether it was as Chairman of the Sports Development Foundation or as Minister of Tourism, I’ve always found Mike to be passionate in his pursuit of national goals, always thinking outside of the box, and grand in his aspirations. I’ve always supported his ventures, whether it has been the Herb McKinley Stadium, or books on national importance, or the music studio for young people in his constituency,” he said.

Among those present at the reception were Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck; Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams; Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, who has responsibility for Climate Change, Hon. Daryl Vaz; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Pearnel Charles; Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, and Attorney General, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte.