AMCHAM reveals nominees

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter

Wednesday, September 19, 2012    

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COMPANIES and indi-viduals operating in Jamaica are to be awarded for corporate citizen-ship civic responsibility and contribution to the promotion of Brand Jamaica at the American Chamber of Commerce's (AMCHAM) Business and Civic Leadership Awards.

This year, the organisation will present a lifetime achievement award to an outstanding civic leader. Six other awards will be presented in three categories covering, corporate social responsibility, civic leadership and arts and culture.

The awards programme is designed to showcase businesses, individuals and non-profit organisations that are driving economic and social progress in Jamaica, said Becky Stockhausen, executive director of AMCHAM.

Raby Danvers (Danny) Williams is nominated for the AMCHAM Lifetime Achieve-ment Award. He ran the North American Life Insurance Company and was able to "Jamaicanise" the company, turning it into Life of Jamaica, now Sagicor, according to a testimonial by Gordon 'Butch' Stewart, chairman of the Sandals Resorts International. Added to that, Williams has contributed to the development of Jamaica College by raising funds to upgrade the school's facilities.

Companies in the areas of telecommunications, housing and financial services have also been recognised.

PanCaribbean Financial Services, Gore Developments and Columbus Communications Jamaica (Flow), are shortlisted nominees for the award of excellence for corporate responsibility. The award recognises companies that go beyond their business strategies. They must, for more than five years, demonstrate a commitment to improving the communities in which they operate.

Aside from providing broadband products and services on the island. Flow has invested in sports, education, culture, and local communities.

Gore, known for building homes, has made its contribution to tennis in Jamaica. It supported the Scholarship Fund which helps youngsters who have shown potential in the sport to attend high schools here and universities overseas.

Listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange with over $88 billion in assets and $12-billion shareholders' equity, PanCarib-bean has gone beyond a financial institution. It is noted for its Sigma Corporate Run which has raised over $100 million for health and children's charities.

AMCHAM is also recognising non-profit organisations and individuals in the area of civic leadership who have funded and engaged in projects that enhance development. The individual nominees are Orville "Shaggy" Burrell, Sister Grace Yap and Heinz Simonitsch.

Known as an artiste with a cause, Grammy-award-winning reggae singer Shaggy has, since 2009, used his talent to improve the lives of children, particularly through the Bustamante Hospital for Children. Shaggy's foundation raised $32 million for the hospital in January. To date, he has raised $90 million, some of which paid for an audit of the hospital's medical equipment.

Franciscan Sister of Allegany, Sister Yap has dedicated her life to community development and outreach programmes in communities such as Trench Town, Ferry and Braes River. After meeting with community members and learning about their issues Sister Yap created development associations. These have helped with job creation and have addressed medical and housing needs.

Austrian-born Simonitsch, the former managing director of the Half Moon hotel, says the SOS Children's Villages in Kingston and Montego Bay are his greatest accomplishment. The organisation offers orphaned and abandoned children a permanent home.

AMCHAM's civic leadership awards will go to two other recipients as well one to a small organisation and the other to a large organisation. Hanover Charities Chain of Hope Jamaica and Environmental Health Foundation are the groups shortlisted for the large organisation honour.

Children born in Jamaica with heart defects have been given help by Chain of Hope, which developed a cardiac service at the Bustamante Children's Hospital.

The largest charitable organisation in Western Jamaica, Hanover Charities, has improved the lives of citizens in what is known as the "Cinderella" parish. The group has fed school children, the indigent and the elderly and has also funded the education of some children in the parish.

One of its foundations in St Elizabeth has established a clinic, a convent, a homework centre, a library, a computer centre, a hot pepper farm, and sewing and literacy classes.

The Holy Spirit Foundation, the only group nominated for the small organization civic leadership award, has helped with job creation and economic self-sufficiency for members of the Maggotty community.

Another sole nominee, this one in the group arts and culture award, is Fab 5. The band, which has shared bandstands with Ray Charles, Bob Marley, Gladys Knight, and the Mighty Sparrow has for 40 years been at the forefront of music and entertainment not only in Jamaica, but on the world stage.

The individual nominees for recognition in arts and culture are Patricia Ramsay and Aston Cooke.

Ramsay, former director of the Centre for the Arts of the University of Technology, is credited with linking Jamaica to the global arts scene.

She has mounted international exhibitions at a government-to-government level and influenced international personalities and artistes to visit Jamaica. Among other things, she mounted the largest exhibition at the Mutual Life Centre for the Arts and organised the first Caribbean Sculpture Park at the University of Technology.

Cooke has illustrated society's ills as a playwright and artistic director. He was commissioned by UNESCO to develop a 90-minute drama which looked at some issues facing young people in inner-city Kingston. Cooke is nominated for his contribution to Jamaica's theatre development.

Stockhausen added that those nominated have displayed ethical leadership, stewardship and have done community- building activities.

AMCHAM Business and Civic Leadership Awards for Excellence will be held on September 25 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.



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