Government to Revisit Criteria for National Awards

The process of awarding national honours to Jamaicans and foreign nationals will be the subject of review by a special committee chaired by Professor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, the Hon. Rex Nettleford O.M.
The committee had its first meeting at Jamaica House on Thursday (Jan. 3) with Prime Minister Bruce Golding who said a review of the criteria for award was timely based on concerns raised from time to time in the public domain. The Prime Minister was joined at the meeting by Hon. Olivia Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth, and Sport, under whose Ministry the National awards fall.
Mr. Golding said the revised criteria should not be so restrictive that the selection committee has a difficulty naming persons for award of national honours, but stated that the process needed ‘tightening up,’ including a decision on the number of awards that can be conferred, in order to guarantee their value. He said the committee should also make recommendations that would allow for the acknowledgement of more persons who render service at the community level. He said consideration should also be given to the treatment of groups, a category that is not currently accommodated within the status quo.
The committee is expected to make a report to the Prime Minister by March for inclusion in the consideration of this year’s national honours and awards that are to be presented at King’s House on National Heroes Day. At the request of Prime Minister Golding the review committee is also expected to give an opinion on the creation of a Standing Committee to receive and make recommendations for the conferment of the Order of National Hero on Jamaicans deemed suitable to receive the award.
In accepting the challenge, Chairman of the review committee, Professor Rex Nettleford said the underlying principle must be the need for Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora be acknowledged in a manner that has a positive impact on the society.
Other members of the committee present at Thursday’s meeting included, Professor Barry Chevannes, Seragh Lakasingh, Ambassador Madge Barrett, Merrick Needham and Hugh Nash. Senator Oswald Harding, Professor Verene Shepherd and Mrs. Jean Barnes complete the membership of the committee.

JIS Social