New selection of the Order of Jamaica and Order of Distinction

In “Order of Jamaica for Grange and Monty Alexander,” the Jamaica Gleaner announced the people to receive the Order of Jamaica (OJ)—Olivia Grange and Monty Alexander; honorary OJ—Sheryl Lee Ralph; and Commander of the Order of Distinction— Kwame Dawes.

In the year when Jamaica is celebrating its diamond jubilee, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange and jazz great, Monty Alexander, lead the list of people from the entertainment industry who have been officially recognised with National Honours and Awards. On the list released on Independence Day, both have been appointed members of the Order of Jamaica (OJ). Ranked fifth in the order of precedence, the OJ may be conferred upon any Jamaican citizen of outstanding distinction or upon any distinguished citizen of a country other than Jamaica (honorary member).

For “sterling contribution to cultural development and political administration in Jamaica”, Grange moves up the rank from an Order of Distinction (OD) to an OJ.

Alexander, who was already designated Commander of the Order of Distinction in the year 2000 by the Government, is being recognised for his “sterling contribution to the promotion of Jamaican music and the jazz genre interpretations globally”.

Also receiving an Honorary Order of Jamaica is Sheryl Lee Ralph. Her new status has been conferred “for sterling contribution as an actress, cultural ambassador for Jamaica and contribution to the international film industry”.

Noted poet and professor, Kwame Dawes, will be conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of commander. Born in Ghana in 1962, Dawes moved to Jamaica in 1971 and spent most of his childhood and early adult life in Jamaica. He has published numerous plays, poems and books. In 2009, Dawes won an Emmy for, an interactive site based on his Pulitzer Center project, HOPE: Living and loving with AIDS in Jamaica. He also received the Musgrave Silver Medal for his contribution to the Arts in Jamaica in 2004.

Thirty-five people will be conferred with an OD in the rank of officer, including reggae and dancehall artiste Agent Sasco for his “outstanding contribution to music, philanthropy and positive pro-social message to youths”; noted orator and storyteller Dr Amina Blackwood-Meeks; jazz luminary Dr Myrna Hague-Bradshaw and veteran entertainer Lord Creator.

Lord Creator, who was born Kenrick Randolph in San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago, started his career as a calypso singer before seguing into ska and rocksteady and making Jamaica his home. For Jamaica’s independence from Britain in 1962, he wrote the song Independent Jamaica with the Jamaica Military Band. Alongside Cuban-born Roland Alphonso, Barbadian Jackie Opel and fellow Trinidadians Lynn Taitt and Lord Brynner, Lord Creator was an important and positive “outside” influence during the early development of the Jamaican music scene. He has been honoured for his “contribution to the development of Jamaican music and community service”.

Founder of the Rastafarian movement, Leonard Howell, will also be conferred with an OD.

For the full list of distinctions, see

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