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THE INCONSISTENCY OF JAMAICA’S NATIONAL HONORS!

THE annual National Honours and Awards have long been criticised for supposed favouritism, with the Jamaica Labour Party and People’s National Party accused of adorning supporters with accolades each October. The entertainment industry has not escaped this inconsistence. Here are some examples.

Bunny and Scully: The first artists out of Trench Town to record in 1953. They were belatedly awarded a Badge of Honour in 2004.

Jackie Jackson and wife Karen Smith. Jackson, who played on countless hit songs like Alton Ellis’ Girl I’ve Got a Date and Mother and Child Reunion by Paul Simon, has never received a national award.

 

Millie Small, known internationally as singer of the 1964 ska song My Boy Lollipop, the first million seller by a Jamaican. Her trailblazing role was not recognised until 2011 when she was awarded the Order of Distinction, Jamaica’s fifth highest honour.

Dennis Brown, the Crown Prince of Reggae and arguably the music’s most influential singer, recorded his first hit song in 1968. Last year, he was awarded the Order of Distinction, 12 years after his death.

Leroy Sibbles became famous as lead singer and songwriter with rock steady group the Heptones which also included Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn.

Sibbles, who has no hit song as a solo act, was awarded the Order of Distinction while Morgan and Llewellyn were ignored.

Frankie Campbell and Grub Cooper are the longstanding rhythm section of the Fabulous Five band. Despite having no track record as solo performers (Cooper has distinguished himself as a producer/songwriter), they were awarded ODs with the contributions of their bandmates overlooked by the National Honours and Awards Committee.

Jackie Jackson, one of the great bass players in reggae and former member of the legendary Supersonics, house band at producer Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle studio. Jackson, who played on countless hit songs like Alton Ellis’ Girl I’ve Got a Date and Mother and Child Reunion by Paul Simon, has never received a national award.

Ironically, his wife, singer Karen Smith, was awarded an OD.

 

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