It means the world to us - Gleaner Honour Awards recipients humbled by recognition
Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
With The Gleaner Company's staging of its 2014 Honour Awards Gala luncheon set for next week Thursday, January 29, when the person or organisation who will take the top award will be revealed, the shortlisted nominees are revelling in the spotlight of this recognition.
At yesterday's second of three awards category luncheons at the newspaper's North Street head offices in central Kingston, Reel Rock GSW Animation was the recipient in the Science and Technology category, Earl Jarrett was recognised for Voluntary Service, GraceKennedy took the Business Award, with a Special Award in the Business category going to China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
"For us, it's a very humbling award, and we appreciate, tremendously, the fact that they recognise the work that we're doing, given the promise that this industry holds," said Wayne Sinclair, managing director of Reel Rock GSW Animation.
Of note is that Reel Rock is engaged in the co-production of 52 episodes of Lucky Fred, the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon cartoon series. It also animates the children's show Quiz Time, which is aired on Disney Junior France, for Studio Red Frog.
"It's important for us to just keep our heads steady because as many inroads as we've made, there are many more to be made," Sinclair shared. "It's a very competitive industry and we still have a lot of work ahead of us, so we are busy working."
Don Wehby, group CEO of GraceKennedy, was equally impressed.
"This means the world to GraceKennedy," he admitted. "When I announced it to my staff, you could see the level of happiness and motivation right there, because we consider this to be one of the most prestigious awards in business in our country, and having been selected is really a great feeling and very motivating to all of the GraceKennedy staff and their families."
"I am honoured," Xiao Yanming, deputy manager of CHEC's American Division, said during the pre-lunch cocktail reception.
"We are trying our best to serve the Jamaican people and make them happy," he said, explaining that the initial challenges related to cultural differences because of the Chinese's strict work ethics had been resolved.
Yanming's colleague, Yuao Yu, deputy manager in the engineering department with responsibility for the North-South Highway Project, cited the benefits of the mutually satisfying working relationship, with more than 1,000 Jamaicans employed.
He congratulated the locals for their willingness and ability to learn quickly and pointed out that it was very important in meeting the completion deadline.
"I'm very appreciative of Jamaican know-how of our project and I have confidence that we will finish this project at beginning of 2016."
Meanwhile, for Earl Jarrett, general manager of Jamaican National Building Society, the award recognised his tremendous body of work outside of the office. This includes chairing the national council of the St John Ambulance Association in Jamaica, a major international charity primarily led by volunteers providing first aid, health care and support services in more than 40 countries.
This is in addition to being chairman of the various JNBS subsidiaries, including the JN Foundation, which manages and executes the philanthropic efforts of the Jamaica Cancer Society, and his founding role in the JN Foundation's Resolution Project, which promotes advocacy through the art of photography among high-school students in rural Jamaica.
The Gleaner Honour Awards recognises the initiative, accomplishment and courage of individuals or organisations that have contributed significantly to improving Jamaica's quality of life at any time in the preceding 12 months, or is likely to bring about such a change in the immediate future.
The categories are Arts and Culture; Science and Technology; Entertainment, Business, Public Service; Education, Voluntary Service, and Health and Wellness.