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Guardsman boss gets Hummingbird Award

Published:Monday | November 3, 2014 | 11:00 AM
Michele Rollins, American Friends of Jamaica director, poses with emcee for the gala, hotelier Brian Roper.
American Friends of Jamaica President Emeritus Sue Cobb (left) and Ambassador Brenda LaGrange Johnson present this year's Hummingbird Award to Kenneth Benjamin at the annual gala in New York on October 24. Contributed photos
The family (from left): Alan Benjamin, Nicholas Benjamin, Aloima Suarez, Kenneth Benjamin, his son Brandon, Brooke Benjamin, Ronald Benjamin, Celine Benjamin, Sheila Benjamin McNeill, Wykeham McNeill and Ashleigh Benjamin Fernandez.
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Kenneth Benjamin, head of the Guardsman Group of Companies, is this year's recipient of the prestigious Hummingbird Award for philanthropy. He received the award on October 24 at the Plaza Hotel, Fifth Avenue in New York City, from the 35-year-old American Friends of Jamaica, a non-profit organisation founded by former United States ambassadors to Jamaica.

Benjamin, who came to Jamaica some 37 years ago, has given back to the island extensively through his latest project as executive chairman of the Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation. Under his watch, the zoo has been restored to its former glory with the addition of many exotic birds and animals, recreational spaces, meeting and conference facilities and an educational programme where students can come in and learn more about caring for animals.

The King's House restoration, Prison Smart Programme and the Bustamante Hospital for Children are also among the list of charities that have benefited from Benjamin's largesse. His philanthropic efforts were previously recognied by the Rotary Club of Kingston who presented him with the Paul Harris medal in 2005 for his involvement with the less fortunate.