Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
"It's so heavy!" declared the good-humoured, legendary, world-record athlete, Usain Bolt, as he balanced his Gleaner Global Award with one sexy, muscular arm. "But it is very good looking, so when I'm finished making my trophy room it will definitely be prominently placed right up there."
Bursting into laughter, Digicel Jamaica's chief executive officer, Andy Thorburn, concurred in his heavy Scottish accent, holding his Gleaner 2012 Golden Award with both hands: "It is very heavy for me and I'm much smaller than he is, so you can imagine. It's definitely going to be prominently placed in our (Digicel) new office downtown. It's going to have its pride of place there."
The two giants in their own field were the top winners at The Gleaner's 32nd Honour Awards at the glitzy gala dinner at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday night in recognition of corporate and individual contribution to Jamaica's development.
"I am really appreciative of these things, to know when you put in your hard work and people really recognise the work that you do for the country, so I am feeling really great right now. I am definitely excited about getting it," said Bolt.
The Olympian and fastest man in the world has been dominating the athletics world for several years, making him arguably the greatest sporting legend of all time. Although this was his first Gleaner Global Award, he was named the newspaper's Man of the Year two years in a row, 2008 and 2009, for his exceptional contribution to sports.
On the other hand, the corporate Golden Award was the first honour from The Gleaner for Digicel. However, Digicel Rising Star earned the 2009 award for entertainment from the multimedia company.
"I'm unbelievably excited about this. It has been a fantastic night, I really, really enjoy it. It is great to receive the top award, it's fantastic," noted Thorburn.
Digicel also received the category award for its contribution to the field of science and technology.
Celebrating 12 years of service to Jamaica, the telecommunications company is the country's leading cellular provider.
Bolt thanks Digicel
Bolt also took the opportunity to thank Digicel for sticking with him through thick and thin.
"I would definitely like to thank Digicel. Digicel has stuck with me through rough times, they have stuck with me through everything I've been through and I would definitely like to thank them for that," Bolt told Thorburn during a discussion with Christopher Barnes, managing director of The Gleaner.
Digicel has been sponsoring the world athlete from 2004, at the turn of his professional career, seeing the athlete through professional and personal challenges and triumphs to his rise to international stardom.
Other winners of the night in the section categories were Pan Jamaican Investment Trust for its contribution to arts and culture; Supreme Ventures Ltd for its work in sports; Palace Amusement Company for its contribution to entertainment; GraceKennedy Ltd for education; Lasco Distributors in the field of public service; Jamaica National Building Society for voluntary service; and Sagicor Investments Ltd for its contribution to health and wellness.
"This evening, we gladly celebrate a handful of Jamaica's great organisations and one great person who have each significantly contributed to the development of Jamaica," Barnes told the formal gathering.
"Many corporate giants, including those represented here tonight, have, in most cases, foregone their core operating model in search of core beliefs which centre on social responsibility in making Jamaica a better place to live."
The managing director defined giants as any private sector entity, large or small, whose leaders looked beyond the bottom line to address the question, 'How will we positively give back to Jamaica and Jamaicans, what legacy will we leave as a company'.
"Tonight is truly an honour to celebrate you and to recommit this organisation to encourage others to emulate the best of Jamaica," said Barnes.
Gorgeously attired celebrities, dignitaries, some of Jamaica's influential business leaders and socialites had an enchanting evening inside the capacity-filled, tastefully decorated ballroom of the prestigious hotel.