Business

AMCHAM celebrates 'giving back'

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter

Friday, September 28, 2012    

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THE American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AMCHAM) has honoured Raby Danvers (Danny) Williams with a lifetime achievement award along with six other civic and business leaders.

Williams has been recognised in part for creating Life of Jamaica (now Sagicor Life Jamaica). He is a business icon and philanthropist whose national service has spanned the private and public sectors.

As a past chairman of the board of the Jamaica College Foundation, he has been instrumental in raising funds and resources to help the school's development.

In accepting his award on Tuesday, Williams made an appeal for persons to make a contribution to a school of their choice.

"Please do everything you can to assist a school you've had a connection with", he said.

AMCHAM President, Diana Stewart, said the awards gala celebrated the small and large companies that are contributing to social and economic development in Jamaica. It also gave individuals a chance to show that contributions can be made to improve lives, she said.

This year, the organisation also gave six other awards, in three categories, covering corporate social responsibility, civic leadership and arts and culture.

AMCHAM's business and civic leadership award was given to Sister Grace Yap of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. Sister Grace was recognised for empowering residents of inner-city communities through her work with the Trench Town Craft Producers Association which markets the community-produced ceramic, alabaster and crochet items.

"It's not everyday that a nun gets up here to receive such a prestigious award," Sister Grace said in a short acceptance speech. She added that she felt like a movie star receiving an Oscar.

Two organisations were also honoured with the business and civic leadership award. Chain of Hope Jamaica was awarded for the delivery of care in paediatric cardiac service for over five years. The organisation has provided items and equipment for surgery at the Bustamante Children's Hospital.

The Holy Spirit Foundation was honoured for developing a self-help project in Maggotty, St Elizabeth, that generates income for the people there. A small june plum farm in the community sells its produce to a major processed food manufacturer, raising money to pay for over 200 high school and primary school children to go to classes.

The honoree for the 2012 AMCHAM Business and Civic Leadership Award for corporate social responsibility was Columbus Communications (Flow). The telecommunications company was recognised for its flagship programme, Building Leaders Through Technology. It has enhanced the performance of students and teachers via free Internet and cable television.

Flow made an annual $13-million investment and has formed partnerships with organisations such as the Committee for the Upliftment of the Mentally Ill, Teen Challenges and SOS Children's Villages.

In the area of arts and culture, the band Fab 5 was recognised for supporting charitable causes, especially those that help the visually challenged.

The musicians' live performances are recorded on the "Live" series of CDs loved by reggae fans around the world.

Patricia Ramsay was lauded for her contribution to arts and culture. She worked with the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica to host children from the Junior Centre, downtown, Kingston, at summer school programmes at the University of Technology where they learnt the arts and conflict resolution skills.

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