On Heroes Day, next Monday, October 15, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen will present 123 outstanding Jamaicans and foreign nationals with awards or instruments of honour.
But how did Sir Patrick come up with these names? Well, he didn't; you did. Like governors general before him, Sir Patrick was presented with a list of nominees first picked by the public.
It's a lengthy process (so stay with us). The Chancery of the Orders of Societies of Honour (in the Office of the Prime Minister) runs the National Honours and Awards programme. Every year, between January and March, the Chancery invites the public to nominate persons in the eight honours and awards categories.
Nomination forms are available at the Office of the Chancery, ministries, departments and agencies of government; Jamaican missions overseas and, being the 21st century, also online. An eight-member selection committee (whose identities are very hush-hush), then shortlists the public's nominees. That shortlist is then reviewed by the prime minister, who then presents the nominees to the wider Cabinet for approval. Finally, the list goes to the governor general for assent. Got it? Good.
This year, the highest honour will go posthumously to reggae legend Winston Hubert McIntosh, more popularly known as Peter Tosh. Tosh will receive the Order of Merit, the nation's third highest honour.
In this year of our 50th Independence celebration, how do you feel being honoured for your outstanding contribution?
Ed Bartlett (contribution to politics)
I feel honoured. In fact, it's a great feeling to know that our 50th celebrations coincide with the time of my recognition. What has pushed me over the years is the fact that I have seen lives transformed, children from poor economic families have been able to uplift themselves. It's a joy to see thousands of young children becoming valued citizens, professionals and leaders during my time of service and that's what I consider to be my greatest accomplishment. It gives me great pleasure, pride, satisfaction.
Aggrey Irons (contribution in the field of psychiatry)
Well 50 years ago when I was doing the Common Entrance as a young boy I didn't imagine I would be in this position, but ambition and the drive that my mother and teachers instilled in me over the years have made me who I am and so it's a good feeling to be recognised. The feedback and the good reports that I have received over the years is what has kept me going and I am happy to be a part of it.
Tamar Lambert (contribution to sports)
My love for (cricket) has really kept me going and it's a wonderful feeling to be recognised. The team has won for five years straight and it has been a good season and I'm looking forward to at least two more years of good things to come. I have always wanted to represent my country and I always try my best in whatever I do.
Roger Clarke (contribution to politics)
I have given nothing but my best over the years. I have been in representational politics for 26 years and I try to be as level-headed as possible, I try to live well with my colleagues on both sides of the political fence and I'm indeed delighted. Growing up in a little district and being able to accomplish this is good. I have made my contribution and the love that I have received from the two constituencies that I have served is overwhelming. My family, especially my wife, has been very supportive and that's what keeps me going. I just want to continue doing my best, it gets emotional sometimes but I love my country and I want to continue doing my best.