103 for national awards

Published: Thursday | August 6, 2009


Professor Mervyn Morris leads a list of 103 recipients of national awards as this year's sole recipient of the Order of Merit (OM), the nation's third highest honour.

Morris, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies who has been influential in placing Louise Bennett within the pantheon of great Caribbean poets, is being recognised for his distin-guished contribution to the field of West Indian literature.

The awards will be presented on National Heroes Day in October.

On that day, the Order of Jamaica (OJ), the nation's fourth highest honour, will be presented to the Right Reverend Archbishop Lawrence Burke, for outstanding contribution to religion and education, and Dr Mavis Gilmour-Patterson, CD, for her outstanding contribution to politics and medicine.

Dr Carolyn Gomes, of lobby group Jamaicans For Justice, will also receive the OJ for her contribution to human rights advocacy, while Dr Muriel Lowe Valentine, OD, will be honoured with the OJ for outstanding public service, particularly in the field of medicine and medical education. Justice Patrick Robinson, CD, will also receive an OJ for his outstanding contribution in the field of international law and relations.

Professor Gordon Shirley, principal of the University of the West Indies, will be acknowledged for excellence in academia and public service.

Politicians get prize

United States congressman Charles Rangel will be presented with an honorary award for his outstanding contribution to promotingthe interests of Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Three active politicians will be presented with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) for their more than 20 years of service to Parliament.

They are People's National Party members of parliament Derrick Kellier and Dean Peart, as well as Minister of Justice and Attorney General Senator Dorothy Lightbourne.

Gleaner columnist Ian Boyne will be recognised with a CD for his contribution to journalism, and Dr Patricia Holness, CEO of the Registrar General's Department, will receive a similar award for her dedication to public service.

Other selections for the CD include Major General Stewart Saunders, chief of defence staff, for his distinguished service to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Deputy Commissioner of Police Jevene Bent, for service to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and community development, and Deputy Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington for dedicated service to the JCF.

Posthumous awards of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer (OD) will be presented to late singer Phyllis Dillion (contribution to Jamaican music) and Astil Sangster (service to agriculture).

Dillion, who had a music career spanning 40 years, died in 2004. Sangster, a former parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture during the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration of the 1980s, passed away in June of this year.