ROSE HALL, St James — Rose Hall Development Limited's chair Michelle Rollins has been conferred with the second most important order for non-Spanish speaking foreigners, the Order of Civic Merit, in recognition of her role in facilitating Spanish investors in Jamaica.
Speaking at the investiture ceremony at the Rose Hall Great House on Thursday night, Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica Jesus Silva noted that Rollins' award, is being distinguished with the title "The Most Illustrious Michelle Rollins."
The presentation was witnessed by many close friends of Rollins, including former US Ambassador to Jamaica Brenda LaGrange Johnson and her husband J Howard, as well as Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, and Minister of Water and Housing Dr Horace Chang.
Many cheered on as the illustrious businesswoman and philanthropist accepted the award from the Spanish ambassador.
"Michelle Rollins has been someone who saw from the very beginning that the arrival of the Spanish investors was a very positive trend for Jamaica and for its economic and social development," said the ambassador.
"It would not only create a huge amount of much-needed quality jobs for its people, but it could assist in bringing modernisation and a high quality to the Jamaican tourism product," he added.
He said that Rollins, who is an active member of the Advisory Board of the Spanish Jamaica Foundation, has given tremendous support to the Spanish investors in the form of advice and other areas.
"Long before I had officially assumed my duties as ambassador of Spain to Jamaica, Michelle Rollins demonstrated, yet again, her visionary intelligence, with the arrival of the Spanish investor groups," Silva said.
He said Rollins embraced the Iberostar group and invited them to invest in Rose Hall, which resulted in the construction of the Iberostar Rose Hall Resort.
The resort, he said, has created more than 1,000 direct jobs.
It is not surprising then, the ambassador added, that King Juan Carlos I of Spain had deemed it fitting to grant the important national order.
And in accepting the award, Rollins said the gesture was a very "special honour in my life," and had come as a great surprise.
"The job that I have done was not difficult," she remarked, in her brief statement.
Rollins, the widow of former business tycoon John Rollins, has over the years made significant contributions to the economic development of the Rose Hall area in particular, and has funded several social and charitable programmes in the island.
Recently, she was chosen as the Republican nominee for Delaware's only seat in the United States House of Representatives.