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Former Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Edward Seaga was yesterday (October 22), presented with the highest award – the Honour Award – by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), for his outstanding contribution to the preservation and promotion of Jamaica’s Heritage.
Mr. Seaga, who is also a Distinguished Fellow at the University of the West Indies, was among several persons and organisations honoured by the JNHT. They were presented with plaques and citations at the JNHT’s 2009 Long Service and Special Awards ceremony, held at the Courtleigh Auditorium, in New Kingston. Long service awards were also presented to employees of the JNHT, who had served the Trust for over 10 years. A plaque and a special gift were presented to Mr. Frank Gayle, the only staff member who worked at the JNHT for some 35 years.
The Honour Award is the highest of three Heritage Awards introduced by the JNHT to acknowledge the special accomplishments, projects and efforts of individuals, organisations and community groups, which have helped to further the goals of the JNHT towards heritage preservation. There are also the Merit Award and the Award of Recognition, the second and third categories, respectively.
Mr. Seaga was presented with a plaque by the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, while a citation was read by Archaeologist at the JNHT, Ms. Lesley-Gail Atkinson.
“Mr. Seaga is truly an activist, a visionary, champion, vanguard, commemorator of Jamaican culture, whose beliefs transcend political limitations. His role as an eminent Jamaican cultural anthropologist is unquestionable and deserving of the highest accolades,” Ms. Atkinson said.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange (right), presents a plaque to Professor Verene Shepherd (left), at the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) long service and special awards ceremony, held on October 22, at the Courtleigh Auditorium, in New Kingston. Professor Shepherd was honoured by the JNHT for her outstanding work in the field of advocacy, publication and heritage preservation.

She pointed out that Mr. Seaga has not only sought to promote all aspects of Jamaica’s culture, but has made efforts to preserve it for future generations. She lauded the cultural icon for “his foresight and sterling contribution to the preservation and promotion of Jamaica’s cultural heritage”, and cited his role in rescuing Devon House, the historical building on Hope Road and 19th Century residence of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, Mr. George Stiebel.
Ms. Atkinson said that Mr. Seaga was responsible for preventing the sale of the historic structure and opened up an opportunity for Government to acquire and restored it.
Merit Awards were presented to Professor Verene Shepherd, Mr. Ainsley Henriques and Professor E. Kofi Agorsah for their outstanding work in the field of heritage advocacy, publication and heritage preservation. The award was also given to the Greenwood Great House, located on the border of Trelawny and St. James; Michael Lake and Associates and the Port Antonio Branch of the National Commercial Branch.
Additionally, 19 individuals and organiations received the Recognition Award. Among these were the Spanish Jamaica Foundation, the Archaeological Society of Jamaica, Rio Nuevo Battle Site Citizens Association, and Digicel Foundation.
Recognition Awards were also given to several media agencies and individuals, including the Jamaica Information Service, CVM Communications Group, TVJ’s Smile Jamaica and well known broadcaster, Mrs. Barbara Gloudon.

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