FOUR of the five outstanding Jamaicans bestowed with the Order of Jamaica (OJ) this year, for their distinguished contributions to Jamaica, appeared overwhelmed but elated as they expressed their gratitude for the recognition.
These individuals, invested with the nation’s fourth-highest national honour and with whom the Jamaica Observer spoke, were recognised along with 121 other recipients at the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards, held on the lawns of King’s House on Monday, October 16, National Heroes’ Day.
Chairman and principal shareholder of Musson Group, Paul Barnaby “PB” Scott, who was recognised for his exceptional contribution to the business industry, investment, and philanthropy in Jamaica and the Caribbean, told the Observer that he felt “honoured and privileged” to be venerated by the country in this manner.
“I’m very grateful and… I’m a little inspired to try and work harder — working on projects, continue to develop different things in Jamaica,” he said with a broad smile.
“I don’t really have words to say it but I feel that I’m really here because of the hard work of a lot of other people, rather than just myself. But, it’s a great privilege to be given such an award and I am very grateful for it,” he said.
Words also failed veteran politician, former Cabinet Minister Audley Shaw who told the Observer he is pleased with this honour after giving close to 40 years of service to the nation.
Shaw was presented with the OJ award for his sterling contribution to political administration in Jamaica.
Beaming with pride Shaw, who is Member of Parliament for Manchester North Eastern, reminded that he is the longest-serving MP for the parish of Manchester. “Thirty years as MP for the parish so God is good,” he said.
Also a picture of stately elation was renowned reggae singer Marcia Griffiths, who was honoured for her sterling contribution to reggae music locally and internationally.
Griffiths, who will be celebrating 60 years in music next year, first gave thanks and all glory to God for her achievements.
“I’m so overwhelmed for the recognition…I’m really feeling on top of the world,” she said.
Griffiths received the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) in 2014. She was previously awarded the OD (Officer Class).
Anglican Archbishop of the West Indies Reverend Howard Gregory, who was recognised for service in the field of religion, told the Observer he is humbled, and that “to have my country recognise me in this way is a special feeling. It’s not something that happens every day in life”.
“To say it’s a good feeling is an understatement. I feel happy about it…My work has touched, hopefully, the lives of people, and I’m happy about this as well as…those who have helped me here, and now my country, to affirm me so it’s a special moment for me,” he said.
The fifth OJ recipient, chairman and managing director of Jamaica Fruit and Shipping Company Limited, Charles Johnston was singled out for his outstanding contribution to Jamaica’s shipping and logistics industry.
Notable among the awards recipients was permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Colette Roberts Risden, who received the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) for outstanding contribution to the public service.
Also among this year’s Order of Distinction (Commander Class) honorees are Professor Newton Duncan for his long and distinguished service in the field of medicine, specifically paediatric surgery; justices Marcia Dunbar Green, Vivene Harris, Martin Gayle, and Bruce Rattray, for outstanding service to the judiciary; Yohan “Yoni” Epstein for contribution to the business processing outsourcing sector; Patrick Foster and M Georgia Gibson Henlin, for contribution to the public service and law; Garth Gayle, for sports; Andrew John Mahfood, for contribution to the manufacturing and distribution sectors; and Mico President Dr Asburn Pinnock for contribution to academia.
Professor Lloyd Waller was similarly recognised for his contribution to global tourism resilience and governance.
A total of 27 people received the Order of Distinction (Commander Class).
Entertainers Omar “Tarrus” Riley and Wayne “Marshall” Mitchell are among the 36 recipients of the Order of Distinction (Officer Class). Other awardees in the category are entrepreneur and philanthropist Michelle Chong; Jamaica Civil Service Association President O’Neil Grant, for service to the trade union movement and the public service; Earl Moxam for service in the field of journalism; and Justine Henzell for contribution to the film and television industry and the literary arts.