- Nine persons have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to the development of St. James
- Jamaicans urged to draw on our history of triumph over adversity
- Hundreds representing the business, civic and religious communities across the parish attended the ceremony
Nine persons have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to the development of St. James with the ‘Spirit of Independence’ award during the parish’s Independence Civic Ceremony on August 6.
They are Madge Neil Burnett; Roy Graham; Clarice Grant; Beulah Graham; Janet Silvera; Leanora Morris; Matebel Edwards; Sylvia Brown; and Oliver Townsend.
“Today we honour our ‘Heroes and Heroines’ at the parish level, for they illustrate true actions and the change we need to see as a nation, in each and every Jamaican. The recipients of the Spirit of Independence Awards, presented on the occasion of Jamaica’s 51st anniversary of Independence, have all recorded extraordinary achievements at their various spheres of endeavours. These give testament to the fact that there is joy in hard work and there is no happiness, except in the realization that we have accomplished something,” said Chairman of the Civic and Community Affairs Committee, Councillor Suzette Brown.
Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St. James Parish Council, His Worship Glendon Harris, who presented the awards during the St. James Independence Civic Ceremony at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, noted that in order for citizens to quantify their love and esteem for the nation, some practical examples such as civic pride and participation in national development must be demonstrated.
“The respect and love of which I speak, are founded on the philosophy of loyalty and devotion to a cause, group, individual or nation,” he said.
The Mayor said the nation needed to stop, “turn away from the road we are travelling” and “march in a new direction of love and of concern for others … realizing that we have no right to proceed on the present path we are on.”
He pointed out that the celebration of the country’s independence brings to mind the exploits of National Hero the Rt. Excellent Samuel Sharpe, who through serious action displayed his love for his people.
“During this moment of remembrance, we must aspire towards attaining objectives that will strengthen our nation so we too can compete worldwide, successfully propelling Jamaica to higher heights,” Mayor Harris remarked.
Independence Day messages by the nation’s leaders were read at the civic ceremony. The Prime Minister’s message, read by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, urged Jamaicans everywhere at home and abroad, to draw on our history of triumph over adversity.
“Our mission must take us briskly along the path of economic growth and national development. Let us reconstruct our society so that all Jamaicans can meaningfully participate in the economic life of the nation. Let us ensure that every Jamaican is accorded respect and feels a sense of belonging to our society. Let us give full expression to the words of our Motto, ‘out of many, one people’ as we celebrate the blending of our races and cultures and their contribution to nation building,” Prime Minister the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller said.
Custos the Hon. Ewen Corrodus, read the Governor General’s message in which he urged citizens, not to be discouraged in the face of challenges, but to embrace them as a call to action, serving their country to the best of their abilities.
Leader of the Opposition, Anrew Holness, made a call for Jamaicans to renew their commitment to improving the productivity and efficiency of the country’s economy by ensuring that all areas of the labour force is trained and certified and that businesses retool, while incorporating the latest technology into production.
Hundreds of persons representing the business, civic and religious communities across the parish attended the ceremony which saw uniformed groups, marching bands and cultural groups bedecked in the Jamaican colors performing in song, dance and drama, adding extra glitter and significance to the historic event.