Awardees express gratitude for national honours, awards

BY LUKE DOUGLAS Observer senior reporter douglasl@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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RECIPIENTS of national honours and awards expressed gratitude for the recognition conferred on them yesterday — National Heroes' Day.

One hundred and twenty-four people were recognised, 34 of them members of the uniformed services who received medals of honour for meritorious service, at the annual investiture ceremony at King's House — the official residence of the head of state —
in Kingston.

The highest honour presented yesterday was the Order of Merit (OM), Jamaica's third highest, posthumously made to Winston Hubert McIntosh, better known as Peter Tosh, for his seminal contribution to the evolution of Jamaican popular music.

Tosh was a member of the three-man group the Wailing Wailers before launching a successful solo career. He was murdered in September 1987 at his St Andrew home.

Receiving the honour on his behalf was his daughter Niambe.

Nine persons were invested as members of the Order of Jamaica (OJ), including two professors — Henry Lowe and Terrence Forrester; two former politicians — Enid Bennett and Derrick Rochester; and two reggae artistes — Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert and Neville Livingstone, better known as 'Bunny Wailer', the only living original member of the Wailers.

The others receiving the OJ were founder of the charity organisation Food For the Poor Ferdinand Mahfood; president of the Jamaica Council of Churches The Most Rev Donald Reece; and athletics administrator Howard Aris, who died last year.

Forrester, professor of experimental medicine whose career has been devoted to research related to hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases, said he was grateful for the award which underscored excellence in the medical profession.

"I think we perform at a very high standard," he told the Jamaica Observer. "I think we have excellent people. I continue to do research and to take care of patients, and I look forward to setting up a few more institutions required to drive science to a higher level."

Professor Lowe, known for the development of a cancer drug from the ball moss plant, said the award should encourage more young people to get involved in science.

"I feel very positive that this is a signal from the Government of Jamaica to ensure that others can follow in my footsteps, and so we can get more young scientists to understand the link between science, technology, wealth creation, and innovation," he said.

Thirty-four people were invested with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD). They included veteran politicians Ed Bartlett and Abe Dabdoub, as well as Michele Rollins who received an honorary CD for outstanding contribution to the hotel industry and philanthropy.

"This award I accept on behalf of the people of the two constituencies I have served for the last 27 years," Bartlett said. "I want them to know that I deeply appreciate the contribution they have made to my life and I hope that in some small way I may have reciprocated to them."

Dabdoub, in his response, said: "It's always a pleasure to be recognised by your country for whatever work that you do. I am very gratified for the honour that has been bestowed on me by the country."

Rollins, in accepting the award on behalf of her late husband John Rollins and her family, said "I am just so deeply moved and thrilled to be here."

Another 40 Jamaicans were made members of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer (OD); one person received the Badge of Honour for Gallantry; 19 the Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service, and 23 accepted the Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service.

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