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Seven persons who have made outstanding contribution to the development of St. James, were presented with the Sam Sharpe Award for Excellence during the annual Heroes Day Civic and Awards Ceremony, held at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, yesterday (October 16).
Among the awardees are: Olga Griffiths for Education; Gladstone ‘Pops’ Lawrence for Community Service; David Earle for Community Service; Pauline Reid for Commerce and Industry; Joycelyn Hyman Hill, for her contribution in the field of Health; Phillip Green received his award for outstanding contribution in Journalism; and Sefton Lawrence for his work in Sport.
Governor-General His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall, in his message, read by Custos of St. James, Clarence Nelson, said that the recipients of National Honours and Awards reflected the dreams, aspirations, innovativeness, determination, resilience, talents and the uncanny ability of Jamaicans to ‘tun wi han an mek fashan’.
“I call on all Jamaicans as we celebrate National Heroes Day, to pause and reflect on the strength of our heritage, recognizing that the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future. In other words, our heritage is ours to build on, and if we understand our past and learn from the experiences of our predecessors, then we can indeed look to the future full of hope and confidence,” Professor Hall added.

Custos of St James, Hon. Clarence Nelson (left), in conversation with the Junior Mayor of the St. James Junior Council, Wayne Brown and Junior Councillor, Ave Campbell during the Heroes Day Civic and Awards Ceremony at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay on October 16.

In her message, which was read by Minister of Labour and Social Security and Member of Parliament for South St. James, Derrick Kellier, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said that it was fitting for a nation and its people to set aside a special period to honour and recognize those who had made outstanding contributions to their country’s development.
“As is customary, on National Heroes day, several Jamaicans will be conferred with various honours and awards for their contribution to the building of our nation. I congratulate them on their achievement and express my special thanks to Jamaicans everywhere who, in their own way, continue to work tirelessly for the greater good of Jamaica,” the Prime Minister said.
“As we reflect on the lives of our seven National Heroes, let us endeavour to ensure that the relevance of their struggle is not lost, especially on our younger generations. It’s important that our youths are fully cognizant of not just our history as a nation, but the contribution made by each of our heroes to national development,” she added.
Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out that Jamaica had a rich heritage that reflected the influence of people of diverse cultures, including those ancestors of African descent and people of Chinese, Indian and German origin, as well as those from countries in Europe and the Far East.
“All have played an integral part in the unfolding of our colonial and modern history. This mix of cultures reflected in our art form, music and general way of life, truly makes us ‘Out of many One People.’
At this time, we recognize the thousands of unsung heroes and heroines who remain courageous and determined to achieve their goals and by so doing continue to make a significant contribution to the building of the nation,” she said.
Leader of the Opposition, Bruce Golding, in his message, which was read by Member of Parliament for North West St. James, Dr. Horace Chang, called on Jamaicans to follow the examples of by the National Heroes who had extraordinary dreams in their hearts and a burning resolve to lift the lives of their fellowmen.
“The commemoration of our National Heritage Week, is a time for us to praise the life and work of each of our National Heroes. It is a time to appreciate the precious legacy that they have left behind, a time to reflect on whether we as a people and nation have preserved, protected and built on this legacy,” he said.
Mr. Golding urged all Jamaicans to build on the strong foundation laid by the National Heroes.