Three Jamaicans are among eight outstanding Caribbean Americans honoured by the Washington-based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) for contribution to the American society in various fields.
They are international Reggae Artiste Maxi Priest, who received the Luminary award for his outstanding contribution to Reggae music; Forensic Document Examiner, Beverley East, received the Forerunner award for her expertise and work in document forensics; and Graphic Designer Michael Thompson, who was presented with the Outstanding Community Service award for pioneering the International Reggae Poster contest.
The presentations were made at the 22nd Caribbean American Heritage Awards Gala held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Friday (November 20).
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Ralph Thomas, in his remarks, lauded the awardees who, he said, have demonstrated excellence in their various fields.
He had special commendations for the Jamaicans, noting that they are ambassadors in their own right, who continue to fly Jamaica’s flag high.
Ambassador Thomas also hailed the ICS for conceptualising the awards. “For this awards ceremony to be celebrating 22 years is a testimony to the high esteem in which the ICS is held. It also demonstrates the determination of the institute to bestow recognition upon members of the Caribbean community in the United States,” he said.
The other persons honoured were musician Glendon Henderson who received the Trailblazer Award; Dr. Brenda Hutchinson, the Excellence in Medicine award;
Lt. Colonel Shawna Kimbrell, the Vanguard award for her contribution in the field of aviation; Magdalah Silva, the Outstanding Entrepreneur award; while the Outstanding Public Service award went to Miguel Southwell also in the field of aviation.
In her remarks, founder of ICS, Dr. Claire Nelson, who is a Jamaican, explained that the award ceremony started 22 years ago to highlight the significant input of Caribbean Americans to the building of the American society.
It also celebrates the calibre of individuals, who claim Caribbean American ancestry and to provide a forum for honouring and recognising their contributions to the public.
ICS Chairman and Jamaica’s Ambassador to the African Union, Carl Masters, said the honourees were recognised for having risen to the height of their respective professions while maintaining a strong commitment to community. “Their influence has resonated beyond their respective career areas and has impacted us all,” he said.
Just over 500 persons attended the black tie affair, which has become a calendar event for Caribbean nationals in and around Washington DC.
Attendees included representatives from the White House, Ambassadors, representatives from the US government and District of Columbia, as well as a host of prominent Caribbean Americans throughout the US.