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Awards, Honors and Recognition in 2011 – Jamaica Year in Review 2011

Written by Cordella Lewis

Jamaica’s Cabinet approved the acquisition of the birthplace of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the first national hero of the country. The property in St. Ann’s Bay is scheduled for rehabilitation, said Laleta Davis Mattis, executive director of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.The 124th anniversary of Garvey’s birth was celebrated at the site on August 17, 2011. 

The Right Reverends E. Don Taylor and Alfred Reid both celebrated 50 years of service in the priesthood in 2011. The men received praise from leaders in religious, political, and business sectors at a banquet held in St. Andrew. The two priests have been close friends for 50 years and both held a variety of position within the Anglican Church. 

Jamaican veterans of World Wars I and II were honored at National Heroes Park on the National Day of Remembrance on November 13, 2011. The nation also acknowledged their sacrifice with church services and parades throughout the country. 

Jamaica’s new international airport in Ocho Rios was named for author Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond series of novels while living on the island. Prime Minister Bruce Golding officially opened the airport, which is designed to serve high-end tourists. 

Headley Jones, head of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians, was honored with the Musgrave Gold Medal for his eminence in the field of music. Jones, 94, is also known for his work in astronomy and for making the first solid-body electric guitar. Jones was born in St. Catherine in 1917 and service with the Royal Air Force in World War II. 

Dennis Brown, known as the “Crown Prince of Reggae,” was posthumously honored at the yearly National Awards ceremoney on Heroes Day, receiving the Order of Distinction and rank of Commander for the contributions he has made to the local music industry. Brown died in 1999 at the age of 42. He released over 50 albums during his career. 

The 127th anniversary of the birth of Sir William Alexander Bustamante was celebrated in Blenheim, Hanover. Bustamante was the first Prime Minister of Jamaica after its independence. Born in 1884, he founded the Jamaica Labor Party in 1943 and became Prime Minister in 1962. He also founded the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union in 1938. He died in 1977. 

A Wall of Honor was constructed at National Heroes Park in Kingston in June 2011 to commemorate the police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson had announced the building of the wall at the 68th Annual Joint Central Conference of the Jamaica Police Federation. 

Dr. Neil Gardner received the Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence, only the seventh individual to win this honor. Gardner represented one of the best 400-meter hurdlers in Jamaica and reached the semi-finals at the Atlanta, Georgia, Olympic Games in 1996. 

Lawrence Rowe, the former batsman for the West Indies, was honored by the Jamaican Cricket Association with a dedicated stand in his name at Sabina Park in Kingston. Rowe is best known for  his triple hundred and world record of a century and double century in his debut Test. 

The Engineering Project of the Year Award sponsored by the Jamaica Institution of Engineers (JIE) has been given to Wigton Windfarm Ltd. The company won the award for its 18-megawatt windfarm expansion project, which represents US$47.5 million in investments. The project involved installing nine 2-megawatt wind turbines, upgrading an existing 69-kilovolt transmission line, constructing a new substation, building two kilometers of a new access road, and creating a resource center focused on renewable energy training and technology transfer.

 Jamaica was recognized during the World Travel Awards program in October. The island led the recovery of the tourism industry in the Caribbean. These awards are known as “Oscars of the travel industry,” 

Cassandra Whyte won the Miss Deaf International 2011 competition, the first Jamaican to win this honor. Whyte was selected from a field of over 20 young women and will act as an ambassador for deaf women around the globe. 

Lois Samuels became the first cover girl on Vogue Magazine from the Caribbean. She was discovered at Hampton High School for Girls in St. Elizabeth during a visit by Kingsley Cooper, chief executive officer of Pulse. Samuels has been compared to Grace Jones and is paving the way for other models from the island. 

Nandi Chin Fernandez won the 2011 Brides Magazine Operation Dream Dress competition. The contest gives emerging designers a chance to create the ultimate wedding dress. Fernandez, who graduated Immaculate Conception High School and the Fashion Institute of Technology, designed a dress with draping and pleating inspired by the “Birth of Venus” painting by Sandro Botticelli.

About the author

Cordella Lewis