The following is the text of the acceptance speech delivered by Lorna Myers at last week's Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica 20th Hall of Fame banquet at the Wyndham Kingston hotel in New Kingston.
"To be honest, I must admit, I feel quite the stranger to myself at the moment, an out-of-body experience of sorts. I am delighted to be considered for this recognition, induction into the Private Sector Hall of Fame, I never dreamt this would happen. Although I have worked diligently these many years, I never expected to be recognised in this prestigious manner.
Therefore, it is with deep sincerity, that I accept the honour of being the first businesswoman to enter this august hall of the PSOJ. I would also be the first to draw your attention to the fact that there are many other female candidates who are also worthy of this distinction. It is clear that business, hard work and success are no respectors of gender, it is a journey for all of us.
Frankly, I must say that I have always thought of myself as a hardworking businessperson, who just happens to be a woman! In fact, the record shows that many Jamaican women have made significant contributions in all sectors of our society, whether as prime minister, members of parliament and legislators, women in the field of medicine, women who operate their own businesses, women on the boards of corporate entities, women in agriculture, women in the social services, women who are teachers, mothers and caregivers. In Jamaica, women are empowered to achieve!
I note, with a special thrill, that my induction here tonight comes in our 50th year of Independence, during which we have been reflecting on our past and our future as a 'Nation on a Mission'. And it seems to me that in our 50 years of Independence, we Jamaicans, male and female, have created a nation to be reckoned with. People around the world continue to admire our many, many talents in sports, art, music, tourism and, of course, the way we do chicken right!
Success for anyone, I think, is the force of love and support given by those who befriend you. I owe my growth and upliftment to my many family members, friends and business acquaintances. This is a profound moment to acknowledge the great role and input my late husband, Anthony, played in the initial development of our business and, on his behalf, I would also like to say, thank you.
To my son, Mark, who has taken over the reins and continues the progressive movement forward with Restaurants of Jamaica, you have been an amazing leader and tower of strength. Along with my daughters, Michelle and Tina, you all continue to maintain the high standards of the company, ensuring impeccable management and development. I am very proud of the three of you and am eternally grateful for your consistent support and understanding.
To my grandchildren, Mia loves you, and thanks you for your laughter and the great moments spent together, when you willingly listened to wisdom gained over the years.
To my friend and partner, Gerry, thank you for your tremendous support, you have been a wonderful companion and confidant, in this era of my life.
To the Restaurants of Jamaica team, I acknowledge that this would not be possible without you. Over the years, I have enjoyed the journey with you, both through the rough times and the good times!! We did it, guys!
And to the PSOJ, I am grateful for this honour, and I accept it on behalf of all those who have not only stood with me and contributed greatly to this achievement, but who have made this life, my life, a marvellous triumph.