GOVERNOR General Sir Patrick Allen was yesterday invested as a Knight of Grace of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, at an investiture ceremony held in the ballroom of King's House.
Professor Anthony Mellows, Lord Prior of the Order, bestowed the honour in representation of Her Majesty The Queen.
The Lord Prior congratulated the Governor General on behalf of the more than 400,000 members and staff of the Order of St John worldwide. He said that while receiving the recognition was an honour for Sir Patrick personally, it was more so an honour for him as Governor General, and therefore an honour for Jamaica. Professor Mellows also described the investiture ceremony being held at King's House, rather than at Buckingham Palace, as being "so much more satisfying" as it provided an opportunity for this special occasion to be witnessed and shared by many Jamaicans.
He said the Order of St John was not an exclusive club, but one to which anyone could aspire, once the prescribed criteria are met.
In his response, Sir Patrick expressed his sincere appreciation for the honour bestowed on him, adding that it was a humbling experience. "This act epitomises my life and objective to be of service to my fellowmen, my God, spending my whole life mending broken people. It has allowed me to recommit myself to that purpose," he said.
"The Order of St John is a source of inspiration for all who are called to service, and a reminder to look beyond our immediate circumstance and focus on the needs of the less fortunate," added Sir Patrick.
He reminded the audience that the Order of St John, and in particular the well known St John Ambulance, has been fully embraced by the people of Jamaica since 1899, noting that St John volunteers performed duties during the Second World War at both the refugee and detention camp at Mona, now the University of the West Indies, and also at the Kingston Public Hospital.
The occasion was witnessed by approximately 200 specially invited guests, including Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other representatives of the Government; Chief Justice Zaila McCalla; Acting President of the Court of Appeal Justice Hazel Harris; Contractor General Dirk Harrison; members of the Diplomatic Corps; uniformed groups, as well as the National Council of the St John Association in Jamaica, which is chaired by Earl Jarrett, Jamaica National Building Society general manager.