Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
Following a dramatic episode involving his public rejection of appointment to the Order of Distinction (Commander class), classical pianist Orrett Rhoden beamed with pride as he accepted his award yesterday, after having a recent change of heart.
Rhoden had initially rejected the award, saying that after sending several letters to Jamaica House, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller failed to respond to an invitation to attend a music festival.
Rhoden told The Gleaner then that "Jamaica House never even responded to my letters, and I thought this was an insult".
Jamaica House, however, dismissed the claims as "totally inaccurate", saying the Office of the Prime Minister had responded to the musician.
"Mr Rhoden extended an invitation to the prime minister to attend his music festival in November … . A letter responding to that invitation, indicating the prime minister's unavailability, was sent to Mr Rhoden on September 25. This was followed up with a telephone call to Mr Rhoden on September 27," Jamaica House said.
However, all this seemed like water under the bridge yesterday as Rhoden briskly went up for his badge of honour on the grounds of King's House in St Andrew yesterday morning.
Gleefully speaking to The Gleaner after collecting the award, he refused to speak on his decision to reject the award and his about-turn.
"That is a long story, and I wish not to comment on that now," Rhoden said. "Everything has worked out. The prime minister has been most gracious to me, and I look forward to working with her."
In fact, Rhoden expressed that being selected to the Order of Distinction has been one of the greatest highlights of his career.
"I always felt it was one of the greatest accomplishments of my career, and I am most honoured and thrilled to have accepted it," he said.