Articles Comments





Reggae singer Dr James “Jimmy Cliff” Chambers (left) accepts the Keys to the City of Montego Bay from mayor of the city Councillor Homer Davis, during yesterday’s Independence Uniform Parade and Civic Ceremony at the historic Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay. (Photo: Philp Lemonte) —

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Reggae singer Dr James “Jimmy Cliff” Chambers was yesterday presented with the Keys to the City of Montego Bay by Mayor Homer Davis, during the Independence Uniform Parade and Civic Ceremony hosted by the St James Municipal Corporation in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, in historic Sam Sharpe Square.

Dr Chambers, who is a native of Somerton, St James, was lauded for his contribution to the island’s music industry and was described by Mayor Davis as “an icon of the parish and an extraordinary man who never forgot his roots”.

“He has never been recognized in the parish of his birth, so we feel that we have done the right thing,” said Mayor Davis, as he presented a beaming Dr Chambers with the keys in front of an appreciative audience.

Mayor Davis told the gathering that the proposal to rename Gloucester Avenue — Montego Bay’s famous Hip Strip — Jimmy Cliff Avenue “is going through the process”, adding that “very soon we will gather at another function for the renaming”.

Jimmy Cliff

Jimmy Cliff

In April the St James Municipal Corporation, at its regular monthly general meeting, voted in favour of a proposal for the renaming.

The resolution has also received support from a number of corporations, including the influential Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation.

And, in a citation read at yesterday’s ceremony by chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation Civic and Community Affairs Committee Councillor Dwight Crawford, the 69-year-old Dr Chambers was described as “a legendary icon who has helped to shape the idea of who and what is Jamaican”.

  “And whereas he being a multi- instrumentalist, singer, and actor, and is known internationally as a pioneer and persistent advocate for Jamaica ska and reggae music, and whereas he promoted his country’s culture through reggae music — comprising numerous songs that carry a message of encouragement on serious thought of national development… be it resolved that this citation and the Symbolic Keys of the City of Montego Bay be conferred on Dr James “Jimmy Cliff” Chambers,” the citation said.

It also noted that Dr Chambers received worldwide notoriety after starring in the 1972 movie The Harder They Come, and is the only living musician to hold the Order of Merit (OM), the highest honor that can be awarded by the Government of Jamaica for achievements in the arts and sciences.

Dr Chambers, in accepting the award, said he was overwhelmed.

“I am happy and humbled to receive this honour in my own parish of St James. I remember the days when I used to walk from Somerton to Montego Bay,” he said, as he urged the gathering to be “proud of ourselves”.

“It has been many rivers to cross,” said Chambers, as he belted out his monster hit of the same name, much to the delight of the audience.

Meanwhile, five outstanding residents from St James were honored with the Spirit of Independence Award by the St James Municipal Corporation at the well-attended ceremony.

Jimmy Cliff

Jimmy Cliff

The honorees were: Winston Barr, for entrepreneurship; Kenneth Graham, for agriculture; Molly Needham, for education; Harold “Big Daddy” Henry, for public service, and Henry Virgo for agriculture.

The Mayor’s Special Awards were presented to Owen Dave Allen, Cecil Fletcher, Joseph Hylton, Dr Barbara Grandson, Claudette Coombs, and Derrick Deslandes, as well as Pier One.

Others participating in the ceremony included acting custos of St James Claudette Bryan, who read the governor general’s message; Member of Parliament for St James South Derrick Kellier, who read the Opposition leader’s message; and Member of Parliament for St James North West Dr Horace Chang, who read the prime minister’s message.

Cultural presentations were made by DMP Academy and 2004 Digicel Rising Stars finalist, Suzanne Perkins.

Written by

Filed under: BREAKING NEWS, Featured

%d bloggers like this: