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Sligoville honours three of its heroes

Friday, August 04, 2017

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THE historical Sligoville community in St Catherine on Tuesday — Emancipation Day — honoured three of its most outstanding residents during a function marking the 10th anniversary of the community's annual Emancifest Festival at the Sligoville Multi-Purpose Stadium.

Honourees were Rev Lebert Walsh, pastor of the Church of God of Prophecy, James Mountain; SuetellaLuecy Walker, entrepreneur and humanitarian; and Gloria Emile Brown, attorney-at-law. They were recognised for longstanding contributions to the community.

The annual festival held on August 1 and organised by the Emancifest Committee celebrates the historical uniqueness of the community, which is the “free village” established in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean in 1835, one year after Emancipation.

Chairman of the Emancifest Committee and Member of Paliament for St Catherine North Central Natalie Neita Headley said the event is crucial in rewarding “local heroes” when they are still alive.

“It's amazing and important for me that we scatter the roses while they are still alive. So many of them have served unselfishly in their community and we have to ensure that we recognise that kind of selfless service to the community. And the community appreciates it,” said Neita Headley.

The event, which has grown significantly since it started 10 years ago from a small bonfire ceremony, has become an important part of the community's Emancipation Day jamboree. Much of this advancement has been spearheaded by Neita Headley, who has been the MP for 10 years.

Shopkeeper and awardee SuetellaLuecy Walker, 82, affectionately called 'Mrs Lue', was extolled for her contribution to feeding a number of poor residents who struggled to make ends meet, through her credit system.

When asked why she continued to help residents when she knew they would not repay their debt, Lue said: “My heart won't allow me to say no to them. It's hard to at times, especially when you have to buy stocks to refill the shop. But I always help whenever I can, no matter what the situation is,” said Lue, who has been operating a shop in Sligoville since 1987.

Rev Lebert Walsh was honoured for his feeding programme, with the help of Food for the Poor.

Gloria Emile Brown, who serves at chairman of the Sligoville/Bog Walk Community Development Fund, was rearded for assisting the community with scholarships, internships and job placement for graduates of the Sligoville Baptist Institute.

— Jovaney Ashman


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