KINGSTON, Jamaica – Each year, scores of Jamaicans are honored on National Heroes Day, the third Monday of October, for their gallantry, goodwill, and significant contributions to nation-building.
Among the usual recipients of awards are selected members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defense Force who are presented with medals of honor for courageous acts.
Other Jamaicans, including athletes, politicians, musicians and public servants, are also among the annual recipients of Jamaican awards.
At this year’s award ceremony, the honorees include Professor Gerald Lalor, former Principal of The University of the West Indies Mona who is renowned for the discovery of haematoxylin, a substance extracted from logwood and used in the diagnosis of cancer. He is the only honoree who will receive the Order of Merit, the fourth-highest Jamaican order, at this year’s ceremony. Lalor had previously received the Order of Jamaica and the Order of Distinction.
Among those that will receive the Order of Jamaica are Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Garvey who will be honored for his contributions in universal civil activism, and the legacies of Garveyism and pan-Africanism. Rita Marley, widow of reggae singer Bob Marley, will also be honored for her promotion of Jamaican music and her humanitarian work. Politicians Mike Henry and Robert Pickersgill will also receive the Order of Jamaica.
Among those who will receive the Order of Distinction are Jamaican politicians Dr Horace Chang, Dr D.K. Duncan, and Dr Aundre Franklin.
Entrepreneur Christopher Dehring, entertainer Sean Paul, and National Environment and Planning Agency CEO Peter Knight will also receive Orders of Distinction.
Not only are average Jamaican citizens who have displayed acts of courage also honored, but Jamaicans across the diaspora are also recognized for their contributions to the island’s development. Last year, Jamaican-American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke received an Order of Distinction for her significant contribution in safeguarding the interests of Jamaican nationals in the USA Diaspora on immigration matters. In 2017, famous Jamaican-American Singer and Actor Harry Belafonte was the sole awardee of the Order of Merit.
All 143 recipients will be formally recognized in a ceremony on National Heroes Day, October 21.