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Story Highlights

  • Two citizens have been awarded the prestigious Spanish Order of Civil Merit (Officer Class) by the Government of Spain in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the development of the Spanish language and culture in Jamaica.
  • They are Education Specialist at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Dr. Rebecca Tortello; and Education Officer for Foreign Languages, Spanish and French at the Ministry of Education, Martha Corbett-Baugh.
  • Ambassador of Spain to Jamaica, His Excellency Aníbal Jiménez Abascal, in his address at the conferral ceremony held on September 15, at his residence in Kingston, praised the awardees for their work in promoting Spanish-Jamaican relations.

Two citizens have been awarded the prestigious Spanish Order of Civil Merit (Officer Class) by the Government of Spain in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the development of the Spanish language and culture in Jamaica.

They are Education Specialist at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Dr. Rebecca Tortello; and Education Officer for Foreign Languages, Spanish and French at the Ministry of Education, Martha Corbett-Baugh.

Ambassador of Spain to Jamaica, His Excellency Aníbal Jiménez Abascal, in his address at the conferral ceremony held on September 15, at his residence in Kingston, praised the awardees for their work in promoting Spanish-Jamaican relations.

“These ladies are not decorated only for their merits; they are decorated because they epitomize the cooperation between Spain and the Ministry of Education in Jamaica. The Embassy of Spain and the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation … will continue to enlarge the cooperation with this Ministry to ensure that in a few years we will have millions of Spanish speakers,” he said.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, in his remarks, thanked the Spanish Government “for thinking so well of us as that you would honour two of our citizens, who have played important roles in spreading Spanish culture and language in Jamaica.”

The Spanish Order of Civil Merit was established in 1926 by King Alfonso XIII of Spain. This civil decoration is conferred on persons, who demonstrate the civic virtues of officers in the service of the Nation of Spain as well as extraordinary service by Spanish and foreign citizens for the benefit of Spain in the areas of arts, science, society among others.

Dr. Rebecca Tortello Greenland who is the former General Manager for the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation was honoured for her “vision and commitment in transforming the Foundation into a dynamic entity with immense capacity to undertake numerous projects in the social and educational spheres.”

The award to Mrs. Martha Corbett-Baugh is in recognition of her exemplary work in promoting the teaching of Spanish in Jamaica.

She has played an integral role in the social and educational development of the country through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Education, the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation and the Embassy of Spain in Jamaica.

The Order of Civil Merit is conferred on members of civil society based on the proposal of the Embassy of Spain to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which sanctions the appeal.

The ceremony was attended by members of the diplomatic community and former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga.