JIS News

The lawns of King’s House was the scene of dignified pomp and pageantry today (October 18), as 147 outstanding Jamaicans were accorded National Honours and Awards at an investiture and presentation ceremony.
With Prime Minister P.J. Patterson in attendance, Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke conferred the honours and awards on Jamaicans, whose lives were of exemplary service to both the nation and their fellow countrymen.
Hundreds of neatly dressed family members, friends and well-wishers were seated about the grounds, some under white pitched tents, others under the comforting shade of trees, all supporting the recipients.
Leading the list of awardees was multiple Olympic medallist, Herb McKenley, who received the Order of Merit (OM), the highest civilian honour, for his outstanding accomplishments in track and field.
Following Mr. McKenley, the Order of Jamaica (OJ), was bestowed on individuals from three varying career fields – entertainment and hotel mogul, Christopher Blackwell, “for his philanthropy and outstanding contribution to the entertainment industry”; Principal of the University of the West Indies, Professor Kenneth Hall, “for his significant contribution to education and regional development”; and attorney-at-law, Shirley Miller, “for her distinguished service in the field of law and contribution to legal reform”.
As the ceremony progressed with its polished formalities of recipients briskly walking and ascending the dais, then briefly bowing in acknowledgement of the Governor General, and being pinned with their various insignias, there were moments when thunderous applause erupted into the air.
One such instance was the presentation of the posthumous awards of the Badge of Honour for Gallantry to the late Heron Cousley and Jorghinio Johnson, both Scouts who rescued drowning fellow Scouts before losing their own lives.
As the departed 17 year-old Heron’s father, Errol, and 12 year-old Jorghinio’s mother, Elise Murray collected their late sons’ awards, attendees were moved by the story of the boys’ heroism, and loudly clapped in tribute.
Nineteen persons were conferred with the Order of Distinction, in the rank of Commander (CD), with an additional two being given honorary status; 33 individuals were awarded the Order of Distinction, in the rank of Officer (OD); another 20 were bestowed with Badges of Honour for meritorious service; while 18 were awarded with Badges of Honour for long and faithful service to their various places of employment.
Additionally, 49 members of the country’s uniformed service, including the Jamaica Fire Brigade, the Department of Correctional Services, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and the Jamaica Defence Force received Medals of Honour for gallantry and meritorious service.
The ceremony was coloured with entertainment from the National Chorale of Jamaica, accompanied by the Jamaica Regiment Band, and the University Singers.

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