Businessman Desmond Blades, who was today (May 12) conferred with the Order of Jamaica (OJ), has said that he is “most grateful” for the honour.
He said he hopes that his contribution to the nation had been a significant one and that he is happy the national recognition is “now considered due”.
Mr. Blades, who is known for his work in food-processing and distribution, was conferred with the country’s fourth highest honour during a special ceremony of investiture at King’s House, which was presided over by Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Dr. Patrick Allen.
His family, friends, business colleagues and other well-wishers were on hand for the occasion.
Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, in his remarks, praised Mr. Blades’ resilience as a businessman, saying his life represented a “template” for success.
He said that Mr. Blades, who has been battling colon cancer, has shown that “no matter how tough things are, no matter how the current may be going against us, if we are determined, if we are prepared to summon that strength that we have, even when we don’t know we have it, we can succeed, we can swim against that current and achieve.”
Mr. Golding told those present that they could have similar success if they were “prepared to be as industrious, as focused, to work as hard and to be as committed to a cause as (Mr. Blades) has been”.
Mr. Blades, who emigrated from Barbados in 1961 and has since made Jamaica his home, has contributed significantly to the country’s business landscape. He is best known for his contribution to the success of Facey Commodity and the Seprod Group of Companies, where he served as Chairman as both companies.
He has also served as patron of the National Food and Nutrition Coordinating Committee; Chairman, United Way of Jamaica; Director, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC); Chairman of the JCC’s Tourism and Environment Committee; and Commodore, the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club.
He has served on the boards of several committees including the Kingston Restoration Committee and the Century Club of the University of the West Indies.