The Jamaica government by practice each year select people from different sectors within the society to honor and recognize for their contribution to the growth and development of the society — nation building.
Now, this practice is noteworthy of any government because it does not only help to mobilize and motivate its citizens but also serves to reinforce the structure of its society as well as promote a particular type of desired behavior among its citizenry.
That said, one cannot help but to question the criteria used to select honorees in Jamaica in the recent past.
The truth is this National Honors and Awards ceremony is fast becoming a Doctor Bird Award event and if the government is not careful, it may very well find that many deserving candidates may soon refuse to accept the award because of its lack of distinction and appeal.
The dishing out of the National Honors and Awards these days which is what it really seems to have become in comparison to the past highlights the mediocrity the country has come to accept in all spheres of its governance and for its people.
The fact is the National Honors and Awards should always be reserved for the crème del de la crème across all sectors of the society.
However, this has not been the case, especially in the recent past. For example, when a dancehall artiste like a Mr. Rexton “Shabba Ranks” Gordon, can make the Order of Distinction – Commander Class list, one has to wonder, who next — Vybz Kartel?
Now, I have no writ or grouse against Mr. Gordon and I commend him for the clout which has deemed him fit for such an honor in the eyes of the government.
However, I would hasten to ask where is the national recognition or award for that teacher in Joe Hut in Trelawny who has served for over thirty years in that primary school or that doctor who has given yeoman service to the people of the district of Elderslie in St. Elizabeth or the clergyman in Gimme Me Bit in Clarendon or the farmer in Fat Hog Quarter, in Hanover.
The truth be told, today, many of the recipients, being bestowed with Jamaica’s National Honors, in any progressive democracy all they would receive is just an honorable mention for their work and contribution, not National Honor and Award.
Where is M0tty Perkins, when wi need him?
Davy Desmond, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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