A total of 157 Jamaicans were recognised for outstanding contributions to nation building through service in various fields, at the 2012 National Honours and Awards ceremony, on National Heroes Day, Monday, October 15, on the lawns of King’s House, in Kingston.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who presided over the function, presented the awardees, including members of the uniformed groups, with their awards in the categories of: Order of Merit (OM); Order of Jamaica (OJ); Order of Distinction, Commander (CD) and Officer (OD) ranks; the Medal of Honour for Meritorious Service; and Badge of Honour for Meritorious, and Long and Faithful Service.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness, headed the dignitaries and other guests who attended the function.
Late Jamaican reggae legend, Winston Hubert “Peter Tosh” McIntosh, was the sole honouree receiving the Order of Merit. The internationally renowned musician was recognised posthumously for his “seminal contribution to the evolution of Jamaican popular music”.
Late Sports Administrator, Howard Aris, was one of nine Jamaicans conferred with Jamaica’s fifth highest honour, the Order of Jamaica. He, too, was honoured posthumously for significant contribution to Jamaica’s sports development.
The other awardees in this category were: Enid Bennett, for outstanding contribution to politics; Professor Terrence Forrester, for sterling contribution to medical research and the establishment of medical research facilities in Jamaica; Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, for outstanding contribution to the development of Jamaican popular music; Neville “Bunny Wailer” Livingstone, for pioneering contribution to Jamaica’s musical development; Professor Henry Lowe, for contribution to science, in particular, the field of Nutraceuticals; Ferdinand Mahfood, for philanthropy and the establishment of Food for the Poor; the Most Rev. Donald Reece, for service to education and religion; and Derrick Rochester, for service to trade unionism, politics, business, and community service.
Following the ceremony, Professor Henry Lowe, who was previously awarded the CD, told JIS News that he felt proud and honoured to receive such recognition.
“It is, indeed, an honour, because my type of work can be very lonely; it’s a lot of hard work and dedication. And even when you have achieved, people can’t accept and believe it, because they think we are not capable of doing it, as a small…third world country. I am very happy that the government of Jamaica has seen it fit to (present me with this honour),” he said.
Professor Lowe also pointed out that the award is a step closer to “the bigger things that I am trying to do with cancer research,” which he said “is going to be the big ticket, and that will come.”
Internationally renowned musician, “Toots” Hibbert, told JIS that the award was “one of the greatest things to ever happen to me”.
“It is great to be recognised by the Jamaican people for my work that I love to do,” he remarked.
Chief of State Protocol, Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Ambassador Elinor Felix, who has done outstanding work in the field of public service, was among the 30 persons conferred with the Order of Distinction, Commander Class (CD).
A very emotional Ambassador Felix said receiving the honour “was a most wonderful feeling; and I know that my deceased parents are looking down proudly”.
Other awardees in this category include: Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Major General Antony Anderson, for distinguished service to the JDF; Peter Ashbourne-Firman, for dedicated and outstanding service to the development of several genres of music in Jamaica; Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, for 20 years of distinguished service to Parliament; Attorney-at-Law and Queen’s Counsel, Howard Hamilton, for outstanding service to the field of law and for his work as Public Defender; and Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. Aggrey Irons, for service to medicine, in particular, the field of psychiatry. Hotelier, Michelle Rollins, of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay, was also presented an honorary award in this category, for her contribution to the hospitality industry and philanthropy.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Hamilton said he was delighted to be honoured for something he enjoys doing. “To be honoured for something that one enjoys is doubly pleasurable,” he remarked.
Minister Clarke also told JIS News that he was “humbled by the occasion”, as it was a “fantastic thing” to be honoured by one’s country. He noted that this recognition “can only help me to do much better”.
Meanwhile, 39 other persons received the Order of Distinction, in the rank of Officer (OD), for their outstanding work in the areas of community development, literacy, religion, aviation, advertising and the promotion of Jamaican culture, promotion of international trade, education, public service, sports development, broadcasting, law enforcement and defence, and the legal profession.
Among them were: Morris Afflick, for distinguished service to government and community development; Dr. Vinetta Carter, for outstanding contribution to literacy in Jamaica; Aldrick “Allie” McNab, for long and dedicated service to the field of sports; and Tamar Lambert, for his contribution to cricket and outstanding leadership as Captain of Jamaica’s cricket team.
Private Ferdinand Trench was this year’s sole recipient of the Badge of Honour for Gallantry (BHG), for courageous effort in saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Private Trench was honoured for saving the life of a man, who fell down a precipice along the Junction main road in St. Mary, on Saturday, August 6, 2011.
Additionally, 23 other honourees received the Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service for their contribution to family health services, education, community service, public service, agriculture, religion, and health; while 19 persons received the Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service.
A total of 34 uniformed personnel were recognised with the Medal of Honour for Meritorious Service. They included eight officers from the JDF; 11 from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); four from the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF), five from the Department of Correctional Services (DCS); and six from the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB).