Honours of merit
Entertainment industry well-represented
The creative arts community was well-represented at yesterday's National Honours and Awards ceremony at King's House.
The morning's highest award, the Order of Merit, was presented posthumously to original 'Wailer' Peter Tosh. Tosh, who along along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer formed reggae's most successful group The Wailers, was gunned down at his St Andrew home in September 1987.
His award — the country's third highest — was received by his daughter Niambe. Commenting on his father's OM, Andrew Tosh noted that it was an honour to receive on his father's behalf, but added it was full time Tosh received the accolade.
The sole surviving Wailer, Bunny Wailer, was also on the morning's awards list.
He was decorated with the Order of Jamaica, the country's fourth highest honour. The insignia was accepted by his son Abijah Livingstone, who was dressed in white adorned with the colours of Rastafari — red, green and gold.
"I am overwhelmed, I am very proud of my father and he is also proud to be receiving this award," Abijah Livingstone told the Jamaica Observer.
Immediately following the presentations, the children of Tosh and Wailer gathered for photographs noting that they have always been very close-knit.
"It's a family," Abijah Livingstone stated.
Singer Toots Hibbert also received the Order of Jamaica. He was recognised for his contribution to the development of Jamaica popular music.
For Hibbert, the moment was special. "I feel great... this is one of the great moments of my life. To be recognised by my country is a wonderful feeling."
Renowned bass player, Jackie Jackson, who received the Order of Distinction was also humbled by the gesture."This is an honour, and to be given to me by my own country... words can't explain. I will definitely wear this with pride," he said.
The feeling was the same for veteran singer Tony Gregory who said he was happy to still be alive to accept the award. Gregory received the Order of Distinction.
For reggae artist Anthony 'Billy Mystic' Wilmot who collected the Order of Distinction on behalf of his mother, filmmaker Cynthia Wilmot, the moment was one filled with pride. "I have always had a lot of respect for my parents and the work that they have done. This is another such moment. I am very honoured to accept on her behalf."
Other entertainers awarded the OD were musician, composer and arranger Peter Ashbourne; music producer and artiste Lee 'Scratch' Perry, and dancer, choreographer and fashion designer Barry Moncrieffe.