Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen, has praised former Custos of St. Andrew, Bishop Carmen Stewart, for her dedicated service to the nation.
“We recognise and express our heartfelt appreciation to Bishop, Dr. the Hon. Carmen Stewart for her contribution to Jamaica, especially in the capacity of Custos Rotulorum for the parish of St. Andrew,” the Governor-General said.
Speaking at the annual Custodes luncheon, recently, at King’s House, at which Bishop Stewart was honoured, he described her as a strong, determined, conscientious person with a very powerful mind and an effervescent attitude.
Former Custos Rotulorum of St. Andrew, Bishop Hon. Dr. Carmen Stewart (right), gets assistance from Custodes of the parishes of St. Catherine and St. Thomas respectively, Hon. Sophia Azan (left) and Hon. Marcia Bennett, in showing off the citation, which was presented to her at the annual Custodes luncheon held recently at King’s House. Bishop Stewart was the special honouree.
The Governor-General had met with the Custos of each parish (except Trelawny and Westmoreland who were unable to attend) prior to the luncheon, and the Custodes were asked to update him on activities in their respective parishes.
He especially acknowledged new Custodes appointed during the year, including Custos Rotulorum of Kingston, Hon Steadman Fuller; Custos Rotulorum of St. Andrew, Hon Marigold Harding and Custos Rotulorum of St. Elizabeth, Hon Wilfred Nembhard.
The Governor-General also recognised the contribution of the late Custos of Trelawny, Hon Royland Barrett and Custos of St Elizabeth, Hon Alfred Farquharson who passed on earlier this year, as well as former Custos of Kingston, Reverend Canon Weeville Gordon, who passed on recently.
“We acknowledge all Custodes for their service, including those who have retired or may be contemplating retirement. We want you to know that we appreciate your service to this nation…your work is integral to our society and to the growth of the parishes you serve,” the Governor-General said.
A citation to Bishop Stewart, read by her successor, Custos Harding, noted that the Bishop has devoted her entire professional life to the Pentecostal Church in Jamaica, serving as Pastor of the Pentecostal Gospel Temple, Windward Road, Kingston, for 44 years.
The citation also recognised Bishop Stewart as a former Director of the Bureau of Health Education in the Ministry of Health and as a Justice of the Peace who served as Custos of St. Andrew from 1992 until her retirement in August 2010. She was the first female Custos of the parish and the first female to act as Deputy Governor-General (1996).
A firm believer in the importance of early childhood education, Bishop Stewart founded the Wilbert Stewart Basic School, named in honour of her late husband. Her involvement in education extends beyond the early childhood level, as she has served for many years as honorary tutor at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Among the many accolades conferred upon her were: the Order of Jamaica in 2007; the Order of Distinction for service in the field religion and health education in 1986; the Prime Minister’s Medal; Certificate of Recognition from the Bureau of Women’s Affairs; and Award for Dedicated Service from the Kiwanis’ Club of downtown Kingston, and from other Kiwanis Clubs.
In response, Bishop Stewart said she was touched and humbled by the kind of reception she was given.
She fondly recalled her years as Custos of St. Andrew, noting that it was a pleasure to have served her country, and expressing appreciation for having been guided by successive Governor’s-General in carrying out her duties.