Six outstanding Jamaicans received 2017 Musgrave Medals, at the recent Musgrave Medals Award ceremony on May 25th, 2017 by the Institute of Jamaica in its Lecture Hall along East Street. The six Jamaicans were recognised for their critical contribution to the advancement of the arts, science and literature of Jamaica.
This happened while umpteen Jamaicans struggle to understand the equivalence of the skills to academia for the wholesome development of a nation, much more the critical role of the arts, even in the schools. Only recently did Jamaica’s Ministry of Education officially incorporate the Arts in the curriculum of the schools at the primary level. Thus the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) model, now replaces STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
Still, unknown to a large number of persons, the Institute of Jamaica has been recognising Jamaicans who contribute significantly to the fields of Literature, Science and Arts for over a century. Back in 1941 the first gold Musgrave Medal was awarded to artist Mrs Edna Manley, OM wife of the late Norman Manley, for her contribution to Art and Literature. Mrs Edna Manley was instrumental in starting the then Jamaica School of Art.
The Musgrave Medals Award was founded in 1889 as a memorial to Sir Anthony Musgrave, who during his tenure as the governor of Jamaica between 1887-1883, founded the Institute of Jamaica in 1879.
The Institute of Jamaica since 1889 awards Musgrave Medals and the Musgrave Youth Medal to Jamaicans in recognition of their notable contributions to literature, science, and art. Students of Jamaica College attend the ceremony annually, as Mr Musgrave and his wife also made significant contributions to that school.
2017 Musgrave Medals Award Recipients
On May 25th, 2017, the six award recipients for 2017 were Gold Medalist Professor Herbert Ho Ping Kong, OD (Science), Silver medalist Professor Daniel Coore (Science), Silver Medalist Mr. Frederick ‘Freddie’ McGregor, OD (Art/Music), Silver Medalist Tanya Shirley, (Literature), and two Bronze Medalists Dr. Basil K. Bryan, OD (Literature) and Mrs. Eleanor B. Jones (Science). Professor Herbert Ho Ping Kong, OD (Science) was the only awardee not present to accept his award.
The ceremony was welcomed by over 300 Jamaicans who packed the lecture hall, most of them noteworthy personalities or their representatives. The list of guests included Honourable Barbara Gloudon, OJ, OD, Hon. LLD; Ainsley Henriques; representative of Jamaica’s Chief of Defence staff Major General Rocky Meade, and ambassadors.
Dynamic performances were delivered by Myrna Hague Bradshaw, PhD. And the Junior Centre Music Group. Certainly though, the impacting performance of the Nexxus Performing Arts Centre will be indelible reiterating the relevance of the arts. Centred around numerous songs by silver medalist Frederick ‘Freddie’ McGregor OD, the Nexxus representatives rendered a medley titled ‘Big Ship Suite’ and an inspired Freddie McGregor joined in as an endorsement to the effort.
Another silver medalist proved her mettle in her vote of thanks on behalf of all the award recipients. “A nuh piyaa piyaa or dibby dibby award” she reminded the audience in the native tongue of Jamaica. The poetry in the laugh and mannerism of Jamaicans she penned for years was among the reasons for what she was awarded. She went on to pull peels of laughter in her explanation that ‘no one writes to hear his own voice, or makes a cardiac unit to save himself…”. Her impeccable vote of thanks was telling as she reiterated that “No matter the international award, nothing means more than being recognised by your country”.. “even for a moment, [we, the recipients feel] like big ships sailing on an ocean.”
After the 2017 Musgrave Medals award ceremony, Freddie McGregor echoed the thoughts of all awardees when he boasted “I feel great. One of the greatest feelings I’ve had in a long time. We’ve got a lot of awards and accolades from abroad, but when it comes to Jamaica, it’s a totally different feeling. There is no award in the world I’ve got that makes me feel the way I do today…. It makes a big difference to be awarded by your people and on local soil.”