Seven outstanding citizens of St. James were presented with Sam Sharpe Awards at a civic ceremony, held on National Heroes Day (October 19), at Sam Sharpe Square, in Montego Bay.
The recipients are: Tamsyn Browne, for outstanding service in the area of Community Service; Errol Clarke, for outstanding service in Education; Henry McCurdy, for service in Commerce and Industry; Olga Marston, for service in Health; Carl Matthews, for service in the area of Arts and Culture; Inspector Peter Salkey, for service in the field of National Security; and Judith Wallace, for Community Service.
They were awarded for extraordinary achievements in their various fields of endeavour and their contributions to the development of St. James.
In his address, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, called on all citizens of the parish not to destroy the country’s monuments, not to deface historical buildings or defame the National Heroes.
“We must define and highlight our own traditions. We must protect it, preserve it, foster it and continue to develop it. To accomplish such a feat, we must first acknowledge what we possess and ensure that every Jamaican understands its worth,” the Mayor said.
He argued that as a people, who have gone through struggles and have risen above all odds in order to claim this soil as their own, the time has come for Jamaicans to feel a natural compulsion to defend what belongs to them.
“We cannot continue to watch nations that have no interest in our Independence steal our culture and improve their citizenry . We must affirm out love for this culture. It is ours and it holds the world in sway. Whilst we face challenges that question our approach to improving Jamaican culture, we still hold high regard for a more free and fair society. These are the tenets we seek to affirm and make commonplace in our practices,” the Mayor added.
He said that all citizens have a “vested interest in preserving the Jamaican heritage” and must ensure that the youth of today and generations to come understand and appreciate Jamaica’s rich heritage and awesome culture.
The ceremony, which was organised by the St. James Parish Council, in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), was held under the theme: ‘Jamaican Heritage: Impacting the World’.
By Glenis A. Rose