Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Members of diaspora among recipients of national honours

Published:Monday | August 7, 2023 | 12:07 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer
Dr Bertram Melbourne
Dr Bertram Melbourne
Dr Robert Clarke
Dr Robert Clarke

A number of Jamaicans in the diaspora have been recognised among this year’s list of recipients of national honours.

There is Dr Bertram Melbourne, who will be made a member of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) for his contribution to education, mentorship, community service and to the Jamaican Embassy in Washington D.C.

He is a professor of Biblical Language and Literature at the Howard University School of Divinity and served as interim dean of the School from 2004-2007.

Melbourne has also held several positions at Columbia Union College, Griggs University, Andrews University Theological Seminary and West Indies College (now Northern Caribbean University).

Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Cool Herc, will be awarded a CD for his contribution to the international recognition of the reggae/dancehall music genre and for pioneering the hip-hop music genre.

Dr Robert Clarke will be named to the Order of Distinction in the rank of officer (OD) for his contributions to medicine and philanthropy, while Arleen Richard-Barr also joins the OD for her contribution in the field of aviation, locally and internationally.

Radio show host Clement ‘Ras Clem’ Hume will receive the Badge of Honour for service to the Jamaican diaspora in the United States.

A total of 126 people will receive national honours on National Heroes’ Day in October.

Songstress Marcia Griffiths and Member of Parliament Audley Shaw are named to receive the Order of Jamaica, the fifth-highest national honour.

Medical Mission

Clarke heads Help Jamaica Medical Mission and The Association of Jamaican Physicians Abroad.

He has led several medical missions to Jamaica to provide healthcare to under-served Jamaicans, as well as assisted Jamaicans in the diaspora.

During the COVID pandemic, he aided a number of Jamaicans who were stranded in the United States and who ran out of medication with accessing needed medication at a fraction of the cost they would otherwise pay for such.

He worked closely with the Jamaican Consulate in New York and Consul General Alsion Wilson in assisting Jamaicans during the pandemic.

Clarke will lead a medical mission to Jamaican from September 6 to September 14 this year.

Meanwhile, United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, in a message to mark Jamaica’s 61st anniversary of Independence underscored the close working relationship between Jamaica and the United States.

“On behalf of the US government and the American people, I send sincere congratulations to Jamaica as you celebrate the 61st anniversary of your Independence. We are honoured to work with Jamaica to find solutions to pressing regional challenges. Through our deepening partnership, we uphold our shared democratic principles, collaborate through the US/Caribbean Partnership to address climate crisis and secure prosperity of our citizens. This close friendship is built on a strong foundation of personal connections and a vibrant Jamaican-American community,” Blinken said in his statement.

Several events to mark Jamaica’s 61st anniversary of Independence have been held across the United States.

The annual church service to mark the celebrations was held yesterday afternoon in Brooklyn, New York.

The events will culminate with the Jamaica Independence Gala on August 19 at the New York Hilton Hotel in Manhattan.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, will be special guests at the gala where several outstanding Jamaicans, including actress Sheryl Lee Ralph and musician Shaggy, will be honoured.