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Musgrave on merit - Body of work, peers' esteem among factors

Published:Wednesday | May 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Freddie McGregor performing at Negril Reggaefest, held at Wavz Beach on Saturday night.
Lecturer Tanya Shirley (left) and columnist and retired lecturer Dr Carolyn Cooper.

One week from today, the Musgrave Medal awardees for 2017 will have their citations read and medals presented in this year's edition of the annual ceremony in the lecture hall, Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), East Street, Kingston. Among those to be honoured are singer and producer Freddie McGregor, who will receive a silver medal for his accomplishment in the Arts (Music). Poet Tanya Shirley will also receive a silver Musgrave medal for Literature.

David Brown, senior research fellow at the Africa Caribbean Institute of Jamaica (ACIJ)/Jamaica Memory Bank, told The Gleaner that each year the council which governs the IOJ appoints a subcommittee which searches for potential awardees in the fields of science, the arts and literature. The subcommittee identifies people and suggests a medal cetegiry.

"The process of gathering names for consideration takes place right after the current award," Brown said. So the process of identifying persons who could be awarded in 2018 will begin shortly.

The IOJ's council has the authority to reject proposed persons as well as adjust the suggested category of medal. He noted that in one previous case the council deferred a nomination because the person was working on a project which they believed should be taken into consideration upon completion.

Brown said not only is someone's body of work assessed, but also the opinions of their peers. And while there is not an outright statement that their character is evaluated, Brown said, "I am sure it will be taken into consideration."




In its correspondence about this year's awardees, the IOJ said McGregor is "equally adept as a romantic crooner, or as an emissary of strong cultural messaging, his undeniable vocal ability boasts hits like Push Come to Shove, Africa Here I Come, I Was Born A Winner, Guantanamera, his signature Big Ship, Bangarang (a chart topping hit from the album Comin' in Tough) and American soul classics like Just Don't Want to Be Lonely (by Ronnie Dyson) and Can I Change My Mind (by Tyrone Davis)."

It said Tanya Shirley's "writings have appeared in journals such as Small Axe, The Caribbean Writer, anthologies such as New Caribbean Poetry: An Anthology; So Much Things to Say: 100 Calabash Poets and Jubilation an anthology published in 2012 as part of the celebration of Jamaica's 50th year of Independence."

The other awardees are Professor Herbert Ho Ping Kong (Science, gold), Professor Daniel N. Coore (Science, silver), Ambassador Dr Basil K. Bryan (Literature, bronze) and Eleanor B. Jones (Science, bronze).