Being recognised by The Gleaner through its annual Honour Awards carries a lot of weight. Representatives of four category winners – the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) for science and technology; the Calabash International Literary Festival for arts and culture; Food For the Poor, recipient for voluntary service; and National Commercial Bank for education – made that clear during yesterday’s second of three category luncheons hosted by the media house at its North Street, central Kingston, head office.
On Monday, February 20, The Gleaner will choose from the awardees the man, woman or company deemed best to have contributed significantly to improving Jamaica’s quality of life, at any time in the preceding 12 months, or is likely to bring about such a change in the immediate future.
For those honoured yesterday, the recognition has been invaluable.
“Clearly, when anybody in the arts is acknowledged for the work they do, it’s a big deal, because there is no monetary reward in the arts. So what you hope and pray for is that your work makes a difference in other ways. So when you get an award such as this one, it allows you to get more recognition, more prominence to be able to do work that you may not have been able to do otherwise. It gives you legitimacy and a stamp of approval that is so important in the arts,” Justine Henzell, co-founder and producer of the Calabash International Literary Festival, shared.
Andrew Mahfood, chairman of Food For the Poor, said it would serve as motivation to do even more for its charges.
“The organisation is humbled by this award from The Gleaner for voluntary service. We have a lot of work to do [because] there are a lot more people who are living in poverty conditions and we hope to be able to help them,” he disclosed.
Goes Way Beyond JPS
Meanwhile, Gary Barrow, chief technology officer for the JPS, spoke to the far-reaching impact of the award.
“We are really very excited because we think that this goes way beyond JPS. We are fortunate that the introduction of the new technology actually allows us to help Jamaica in terms of growth and prosperity, which is a critical part of our vision statement – that we are the people unleashing Jamaica’s growth and prosperity. So we understand the role energy plays in economic growth and we believe there is a really big opportunity out there to help us to use technology to accelerate that growth.”
Author Marlon James was also recognised with a special award in the arts and culture category.
The final category award luncheon is slated for Wednesday, February 1, when winners in the categories public service and business will be recognised, ahead of the February 20 grand gala event at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.