The National Honours and Awards recognise those Jamaicans or foreign nationals who, by their service, have made a meaningful and significant contribution to national development.
Under the National Honours and Awards Act, promulgated on July 18, 1969, formal recognition of service to Jamaica and its citizens may be given by the conferment of the six (6) Orders of the Societies of Honour, and the two (2) national awards, which are as follows: Read more...Click here for 2011 Honours & Awards
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THE ORDER OF NATIONAL HERO
The Order of National Hero, established in 1969, is the highest of the Orders and may be conferred on any Jamaican or naturalised citizen who has rendered the most distinguished service to Jamaica. The recipient is styled 'The Right Excellent' and wears the insignia of the Order.
The motto of the Order, 'He Built A City Which Hath Foundations', is engraved on the insignia. The insignia consists of a gold and white enamelled star of fourteen points, the centre of which shows the heraldic Coat of 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 enamelled laurel wreath.
Jamaicans on whom the Order of National Hero has been conferred are:
- The Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey
- The Right Excellent George William Gordon
- The Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante
- The Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley
- The Right Excellent Paul Bogle
- The Right Excellent Nanny of the Maroons
- The Right Excellent Samuel Sharpe
THE ORDER OF NATION
The Order of the Nation is the second highest Order and is conferred on the Governor-General and Prime Minister, upon whom the Order of National Hero was not previously conferred. Recipients of this honour are entitled to be styled formally as 'The Most Honourable', wear the insignia of the Order, and use the post nominal letters ‘ON’. Spouses of the recipients are also styled 'The Most Honourable'.
The insignia of the Order of the Nation bears the motto which is ‘One Nation Under God’. It consists of a magnificent breast star bearing the heraldic Coat of Arms of Jamaica on a red enamelled background in the centre, and surrounded by the motto of the Order in gold lettering on green enamel. Between the points of the star are gold representations of pineapples. The broad watered silk sash is in a brilliant red with narrow green ending.
The Order of the Nation has been conferred on:
- The Most Honourable Sir Clifford Campbell (post humously)
- The Most Honourable Sir Florizel Glasspole
- The Most Honourable Sir Howard Cooke
- The Most Honourable Sir Kenneth Hall
- The Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen
- The Most Honourable Donald Sangster (post humously)
- The Most Honourable Hugh Shearer
- The Most Honourable Michael Manley (post humously)
- The Most Honourable Edward Seaga
- The Most Honourable Percival J. Patterson
- The Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller
THE ORDER OF EXCELLENCE
The Order of Excellence, which was created in 2003, is reserved for foreign heads of state or heads of government. This Order is ranked with the same precedence as the honour of the Order of the Nation. Recipients of this Order are styled ‘The Most Honourable’.
The insignia of the Order of Excellence is a twelve-point breast star in yellow gold, interspersed with representations of pineapples in white gold. In the centre is the heraldic Coat of Arms of Jamaica in yellow gold, superimposed on a red enamelled background and surrounded by the motto of the Order, ‘Excellence Through Service’, in gold letters on royal blue enamel. The insignia is worn with a yellow shoulder sash edged with a narrow band of green and black in equal proportions..
Since its inception, the Order has been conferred on three foreign dignitaries:
- President of Tanzania, His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
- The King of Spain, His Majesty Juan Carlos
- Former President of South Africa, His Excellency Thabo Mbeki
THE ORDER OF MERIT
The Order of Merit is the third highest honour and may be conferred upon any citizen of Jamaica who has achieved eminent international distinction in his or her field of endeavour. A distinguished citizen of a country other than Jamaica may be conferred as an honorary member of this Order.
This Order may be conferred on no more than two persons in any given year and have a total of fifteen (15) living members, other than honorary members. The recipient is formally styled ‘The Honourable’ and uses the post nominal letters ‘OM’ for members and ‘OM (Hon)’ for honorary members.
The insignia of the Order of Merit is a collar badge suspended from a deep maroon silk riband. The six-armed white enamelled star with twelve points has superimposed on it a lesser shaped star in silver. Between each of the outer six points of the star is the blue Lignum Vitae flower of Jamaica. In the centre is the Coat of Arms of Jamaica in gold on a contrasting silver background, surrounded by the motto of the Order ‘He That Does Truth Comes Into The Light’ in gold lettering on red enamel.
Recipients of the Order include:
- The Honourable Dr. T. P. Lecky
- The Honourable Dr. Albert Lockhart
- The Honourable Edna Manley
- The Honourable Robert Nesta Marley
- Professor the Honourable Rex Nettleford
- Professor the Honourable Michael Smith
- Professor the Honourable Manley West
- The Honourable Cecily Williams
- The Honourable Louise Bennett Coverley
- Professor the Honourable Mervyn Morris
THE ORDER OF JAMAICA
The honour of the Order of Jamaica may be bestowed on any Jamaican national or any distinguished citizen of a foreign country other than Jamaica, who has demonstrated outstanding distinction in service to Jamaica. Members of the Order are entitled to be formally styled ‘The Honourable’, wear the insignia of the Order and use the post nominal letters ‘OJ’. Foreign nationals receiving the award are honorary members and use the post nominal letters ‘OJ (Hon)’.
So far, the youngest member is Ambassador the Hon. Usain Bolt. He was awarded at age 23 for outstanding performance in the field of athletics at the international level.
The insignia of the Order of Jamaica is made in gold and consists of a white enamel collar badge, the ends of which represent the ackee fruit and leaves, suspended from a deep green silk riband. The centre shows the heraldic Coat of Arms of Jamaica against a gold background and this is surrounded by the gold lettered motto of the Order ‘For a Covenant of the People’ on the green enamel.
Recipients of the Order of Jamaica include:
- The Honourable Wycliffe Bennett (post humously)
- The Honourable Peter Abrahams
- The Honourable Lloyd Barnett
- The Honourable Harry Belafonte
- The Reverend and Honourable Herro Blair
- The Honourable Lascelles Chin
- The Honourable Oliver Clarke
- The Reverend and Honourable Father Richard Ho Lung
- The Reverend and Honourable Dr. Carmen Lois Stewart
THE ORDER OF DISTINCTION
The Order of Distinction may be conferred upon any citizen who has rendered outstanding and important service to Jamaica in any field of endeavour. The Order has two ranks; the higher class - Commander - being the higher of the two. Distinguished citizens of a country other than Jamaica may be conferred with this honour as honorary members. The motto of this Order is ‘Distinction Through Service’.
The insignia of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander is a triangular badge with curved sides. In the centre is a black medallion bearing the heraldic Coat of Arms of Jamaica in gold. The words of the motto of the Order are in black. The Badge is suspended from a silk collar riband of black, gold and green by a silver finial of two intertwined letters "J" attached to the uppermost point of the triangle. Members of this rank use the post nominal letters ‘CD’ and ‘CD (Hon)’ for honorary members.
The Order has two ranks:
- The higher class – Commander
- The lower class - Officer
Commanders take place and precedence immediately after Members and Honorary Members of the Order of Jamaica A Member or Honorary Member may be promoted from the rank of Officer to that of Commander. The Honour of the Order of Distinction is conferred upon
- Members – Citizens of Jamaica who rendered outstanding and important service to Jamaica.
- Honorary Members – Distinguished citizens of a country other than Jamaica.
Commanders of the Order of Distinction are entitled to use the post nominal letters:
- ‘CD’ in the case of Members;
- ‘CD (Hon.)’ in the case of Honorary Members.
Officers of the Order of Distinction are entitled to use the post nominal letters:
- ‘OD’ in the case of Members;
- ‘OD (Hon.)’ in the case of Honorary Members
The term’ Order of Distinction’ should never be abbreviated by the letters ‘OD’ as the post nominal letters ‘OD’ denote ‘Officer of the Order of Distinction’.
Source: Directory of the Orders of the Jamaican Societies of Honour