Wray & Nephew chairman, master blender celebrated as icons of excellence
Chairman of J. Wray & Nephew Limited Clement 'Jimmy' Lawrence and the rum company's master blender, Dr Joy Spence, have been described as icons of excellence in the rum industry and good stewards for brand Jamaica.
The accolades were bestowed on the company stalwarts at an appreciation reception, hosted by J. Wray and Nephew last Thursday, when company and industry colleagues, representatives of the Government, the Opposition, as well as the wider business and artistic communities came out to highlight and celebrate their work and contribution to the company, the rum industry and to Jamaica.
The event was held at Devon House in St Andrew in tribute to the J. Wray & Nephew icons who were recipients of the national award of the Order of Distinction, Commander Class (CD) at the annual National Heroes Day ceremony at King's House on October 16.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, who paid tribute to the awardees on behalf of the Government, cited the tremendous contribution of the J. Wray & Nephew duo in preserving a major element of Brand Jamaica.
"J. Wray & Nephew has become an icon of the value of Jamaica's output in rum and spirits," Bartlett said.
He described Lawrence and Spence as representatives of the people who have been responsible for making the brand the signature reference globally for things that are of high value and standards.
Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips described both stalwarts as "modern-day heroes of Jamaica", having demonstrated in their lives the qualities of professionalism, diligence, commitment to country and to excellence that is so needed in Jamaica.
He noted that they have blazed trails of service that are worthy of being emulated. "Those qualities have enabled them to reach the pinnacle of their respective professions," he added.
As two important keepers of Brand Jamaica, Dr Phillips said Lawrence and Spence have helped to preserve what he described as two key institutions - Jamaican rum and the premier company that makes the product, J. Wray and Nephew.
Managing director of the rum company, Jean Phillippe Beyer, in congratulating Lawrence, said he was delighted at the strong working relationship they have shared for several years. He described Spence as an impressive woman and the finest creator of the best rums in the world, and someone who commands immense respect globally.
Tributes were also paid to 'Jimmy' Lawrence and Dr Joy Spence, by their spouses, Dr Monika Lawrence and Emile Spence, respectively.
In his response, Lawrence said he was committed to continuing to build capacity and inspiring Jamaica's young people to strive for academic and professional excellence.
Dr Spence said the rum industry and Brand Jamaica both sparked her passion for service which she has pursued at J Way and Nephew for the past 35 years.
Guests at the appreciation function included former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, diplomats, family members of the honorees and other well-wishers.