A proud na­tion says thanks

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ja­son Cross Gleaner Writer

WHEN PRO­FES­SOR Denise Eldemire-Shearer was in­vested with one of the coun­try’s high­est na­tional hon­ours yes­ter­day, the Or­der of Ja­maica (OJ), it could be con­sid­ered the ic­ing that topped the pres­ti­gious awards she has re­ceived for out­stand­ing work in the health sec­tor and wel­fare. It came on the heels of one she re­ceived in May of this year when she was awarded Fel­low sta­tus from the Geron­to­log­i­cal So­ci­ety of Amer­ica, the world’s old­est and largest in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary or­gan­i­sa­tion de­voted to re­search, ed­u­ca­tion, and prac­tice in the field of age­ing. This wo­man, who has ded­i­cated her life to per­sons in their se­nior years, told The Gleaner, “I am truly hum­bled. You do your work and you do what you love with­out ex­pec­ta­tions. I am a bit over­whelmed. What I have been do­ing over the years has im­pacted and I think it’s crit­i­cal to en­sure that an­other part of our pop­u­la­tion, the older peo­ple, who, be­cause of the in­crease in the pop­u­la­tion, have in­creas­ing needs in terms of health care, so­cial care and fam­ily care.” She said, “I ac­cept this

hon­our on be­half of my team. We set the tone to let 300,000 peo­ple know that some­one cares.”

Eldemire-Shearer is one of four of the na­tion’s most dis­tin­guished in­di­vid­u­als in their spe­cific fields of en­deav­our who were awarded the OJ at the Na­tional Hon­ours and Awards Cer­e­mony yes­ter­day, held on the grounds of King’s House.

The Na­tional Hon­ours and Awards Cer­e­mony is held an­nu­ally to recog­nise in­di­vid­u­als who have con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cantly to na­tional life.

The OJ was also con­ferred upon Dr Ken­neth Baugh for his dis­tin­guished ser­vice to Par­lia­ment, for public ser­vice, and for his con­tri­bu­tion to medicine. This one-time min­is­ter of health un­der­went brain surgery last year, but that could not stop him from grac­ing the stage, al­beit in a wheel­chair, to re­ceive his award.

Baugh, a med­i­cal doc­tor and soft-spo­ken politi­cian, has, over the years, com­manded re­spect from col­leagues on both sides of the di­vide in the na­tion’s Par­lia­ment.

An­other med­i­cal doc­tor, Pro­fes­sor Renn Hol­ness, was awarded for his con­tri­bu­tion to the field of medicine, in par­tic­u­lar, neu­ro­surgery. Am­bas­sador An­thony Smith Rowe John­son re­ceived the OJ for his con­tri­bu­tion to for­eign ser­vices.

Close to 200 per­sons were hon­oured in dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. They in­clude Al­lan Roy ‘Mutabaruka’ Hope, jour­nal­ist Cliff Hughes, and Jus­tice Carol Lawrence, who were among those awarded the Or­der of Dis­tinc­tion in the rank of Com­man­der.

The fam­ily of late Gleaner jour­nal­ists Gary Spauld­ing and Glen­roy Sin­clair col­lected their awards, with both men be­ing given the Or­der of Dis­tinc­tion in the rank of Of­fi­cer for their ex­cel­lence in jour­nal­ism.

Loud cheers rang out at King’s House as dance­hall su­per­star Rex­ton ‘Shabba Ranks’ Gor­don strode con­fi­dently to the stage to be be­stowed with the Or­der of Dis­tinc­tion in the rank of Of­fi­cer for his in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to the Ja­maican mu­sic in­dus­try, lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.


An­tini Hen­der­son and Or­lando Brown re­ceived the Badge of Hon­our for Gal­lantry. Hen­der­son saved her younger sib­lings from a rag­ing fire that had con­sumed their home ear­lier this year, while Brown res­cued a boy in 2015 who was be­ing washed away by flood­wa­ters in­side the Sandy Gully.

Wo­man Con­sta­ble Crys­tal Thomas was one of the mem­bers of the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force who was posthu­mously recog­nised for gal­lantry af­ter she was killed in an at­tempt to stop a rob­bery on a coaster bus in the vicin­ity of Max­field Av­enue and Green­wich Town in July last year.

Dr Daniel Gra­ham’s more than 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the field of medicine and, in par­tic­u­lar, his abil­ity to di­ag­nose and ac­cu­rately con­firm the pres­ence of epilepsy and sev­eral other dis­eases of the brain, had be­stowed upon him the Or­der of Dis­tinc­tion in the rank of Of­fi­cer.

Gra­ham is a neu­rol­o­gist who has spe­cial in­ter­est in neu­ro­phys­i­ol­ogy and epilepsy. He stud­ied medicine at the Uni­ver­sity of the West Indies be­fore mov­ing on to Columbia Uni­ver­sity in New York in the United States to be trained as a neu­rol­o­gist.

Hum­bled is how he best de­scribed his feel­ings af­ter re­ceiv­ing his award.

“I am hum­bled by this. I am just hon­oured to be here this morn­ing to cel­e­brate this [award] that the whole na­tion has be­stowed. I give thanks and will con­tinue to con­trib­ute to na­tion build­ing. I am al­ways grate­ful for any hon­our be­stowed. I will con­tinue to serve this na­tion in the ca­pac­ity as neu­rol­o­gist,” Gra­ham told The Gleaner.

Mu­si­cal se­lec­tions were ren­dered by Ar­denne High School, Je­marie Richards, and Au­dia Spence.

I am hum­bled by this. I am just hon­oured to be here this morn­ing to cel­e­brate this [award] that the whole na­tion has be­stowed.



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