Jamaican National Awards & Honours
Jamaica National Awards
The Jamaica National Awards & Honours program was established under THE NATIONAL HONOURS AND AWARDS ACT on July 18, 1969.
This Act made it possible for the country to recognize those who made a meaningful and significant impact on national life.
The Act was piloted through the House by the Prime Minister, the Hon. Hugh Shearer, establishing (then) four Societies of Honour.
The recipients are typically announced in the press on Independence Day and presentations are made on Heroes Day (at National Heroes Park), which is observed on the third Monday in October annually.
Awards, medals and orders are presented as a symbol of bravery, good conduct and long and/or valuable service.
You can find an actual copy of this act right here.
Each Order has its own motto. Here is the motto for each of them:
- Order Of Jamaica (OJ)
"For a covenant of the people"
- Order of Merit (OM)
"He that does truth comes into the light"
- Order Of Excellence (OE)
"Excellence through service"
- Order Of The Nation (ON)
"One Nation Under God"
- Order Of National Hero
"He built a city which hath foundations"
- Order Of Distinction
"Distinction through service"
According to The Jamaica Information Service:
The Order of National Hero is the most senior order. The honour of the Order of National Hero may be conferred upon any person who was born in Jamaica or is, or at the time of his or her death was, a citizen of Jamaica and rendered to Jamaica service of a most distinguished nature.
National Heroes are entitled to be styled “The Rt Excellent” and the motto of the Order is “He built a city which hath foundations”.
The insignia of the Order of National Hero consists of a gold and white enamelled star of fourteen points, the centre of which shows the heraldic Arms of Jamaica in gold on a black enamelled medallion.
This is surrounded by the motto of the Order in gold lettering on green enamel.
The collar badge is suspended from a black, gold and green neck riband by a gold and green enameled laurel wreath.
Members of the Order of National Hero – Deceased
- Nanny (circa 1600s – circa 1740s)
Leader of the Windward Maroons at the beginning of the 18th Century
- Samuel Sharpe (1700s – May 23, 1832)
“Leader”, Burchell Baptist Church
- George William Gordon (circa 1820s -October 23, 1865)
Member of the House of Assembly
- Paul Bogle, Deacon (circa 1822- October 24, 1865)
The Native Baptist Church, Stony Gut, St. Thomas
- Marcus Mosiah Garvey, (August 17, 1887 – June 10, 1940)
Founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
- Sir Alexander Bustamante, GBE (February 24, 1884 – August 6, 1977)
Chief Minister of Jamaica (December 1944 – January 1955)
Premier of Jamaica (April 1962 – August 1962)
Prime Minister of Jamaica (April 1962 – February 1967)
Founder – President of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)
- Norman Washington Manley, MM, QC (July 4, 1893- September 2, 1969)
Chief Minister (January 1955 – July 1959)
Premier (July 1959 – April 1962)
Founder – President of the Peoples National Party (PNP)