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Maxi Priest was one of three Jamaicans among the eight Caribbean Americans singled out by the Washington,DC based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) for top honors at its 22nd Caribbean American Heritage Awards Gala held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Friday, November 20, 2015 in Washington DC.

The three Jamaicans honored included Jamaican international artist Maxi Priest who received the Luminary award for his outstanding contribution to Reggae music.  Forensic Document Examiner, Beverly East received the Forerunner award for her expertise and work in document forensics, a male dominated field while graphic designer Michael Thompson received the Outstanding Community Service award for pioneering the International Reggae Poster contest.

In presenting the award to Maxi Priest, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Ralph Thomas lauded the awardees who he said have demonstrated excellence in their various fields.  He pointed out that he saw them all as ambassadors especially the three awardees who continue to fly Jamaica’s flag high.

The Ambassador said, “I am deeply impressed to learn of the outstanding contributions the eight recipients have made in your various fields of endeavor and I salute you”

Dr. Claire Nelson

Dr. Claire Nelson

Ambassador Thomas lauded the ICS for conceptualizing the awards.  “For this awards ceremony to be celebrating 22 years is a testimony of the high esteem in which the ICS is held.  It also demonstrates the determination of the institute to bestow recognition upon members of the Caribbean community in the United States,

The other persons honored were musician, Glendon Henderson who received the Trailblazer Award, Dr. Brenda Hutchinson the Excellence in Medicine award, Lt Colonel Shawna Kimbrell the Vanguard award for her contribution in the field of aviation, Magdalah Silva the Outstanding Entrepreneur award while the Outstanding Public Service award went to Miguel Southwell also in the field of aviation.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Ralph Thomas is flanked by Jamaican recipients of the 2015 Caribbean Heritage Awards (l-r) is Michael Thompson recipient of the Outstanding Community Service Award, Luminary awardee, international Reggae Artist Maxi Priest and recipient of the Forerunner Award Beverly East. (Photo Credit Derrick Scott)

In her remarks, founder of ICS Dr. Claire Nelson, herself a Jamaican explained that the award ceremony was started twenty-two years ago to highlight the significant input of Caribbean Americans to the building of the American society.  It also celebrates the caliber of individuals who claim Caribbean American ancestry and to provide a forum for honoring and recognizing their contributions to the public.

In his remarks chairman of ICS and Jamaica’s Ambassador to the African Union Carl Masters said the honorees were being recognized for having risen to the height of their respective professions while maintaining a strong commitment to community.  Their influence has resonated beyond their respective career areas and has impacted us all.

Just over 500 individuals attended the black tie affair which has become a calendar event for Caribbean nationals in and around Washington DC.  Attendees included representatives from the White House, Ambassadors, representatives from the US government and District of Columbia as well as a host of prominent Caribbean Americans from throughout the USA.

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