Four Jamaicans receives Honour at ICS Awards
South Florida Caribbean News
WASHINGTON, DC – Four Jamaicans, the jazz great Monty Alexander and Third World lead singer William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clarke among them, were honoured along with four other Caribbean nationals at the 19th annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) Gala in Washington, D.C., for their extraordinary contributions to various fields of endeavour.
The Washington-based think tank Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) organised the prestigious CARAH gala that brought together at the Washington Capital Hilton hotel hundreds of Caribbean nationals and friends of the Caribbean to celebrate Caribbean achievement, service, and excellence in the wider world. This year’s special gala was also a salute to the 50th anniversary of independence two Caribbean nations – Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
A sort of who’s who of the Caribbean American community and Washington, D.C., could also be found at the gala: Caribbean Ambassadors headed by dean of the Caribbean diplomatic corps in Washington, D.C., Guyana’s Ambassador Bayney Karran and Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Stephen Vasciannie and wife Lisa; ICS board chairman Ambassador Carl Masters; and ICS president and founder Dr. Claire Nelson. Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Brian Wynter was on hand, as was Deputy Director of Public Engagement at the White House, Heather Foster, who is a Jamaican national was also specially honoured and addressed the guests., as well as
The internationally-celebrated jazzman Alexander was presented with the 2012 Caribbean American Heritage Luminary Award, in recognition of his remarkable musical career spanning 50 years. The award was delivered to him by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Stephen Vasciannie.
In presenting the award, Ambassador Vasciannie pointed to some highlights of Mr. Alexander’s career, which has produced 70 recorded albums to date, including collaborations with other music industry icons the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones; and that his musical creations have had a unique, enduring appeal enjoyed by many generations. He has maintained a rigorous worldwide touring schedule.
‘Bunny Rugs’ Clarke of Third World, one of the longest running reggae bands of all time, received the ICS’ Cultural Ambassador Award for his outstanding contribution to reggae music, presented to him by US Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, whose parents hail from Jamaica. Rugs did not disappoint, taking to the stage after his award to thrill the guests with some reggae classic numbers, backed by Image Band.
Congresswoman Clarke, commending the ICS for being consistent in recognizing the outstanding contribution made by Caribbean American nationals over the past 19 years, described the ICS gala as one to be emulated, as it celebrates outstanding service and advocacy on behalf of the Caribbean community. “All honourees tonight have distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour, and are deserving of the honour being bestowed upon them by the Caribbean community here in Washington, D.C.”
The other Jamaican honourees were President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), Dean Garfield; and Editor-in-Chief of Essence magazine Constance C.R. White. Garfield was honoured for his outstanding contribution to corporate America and White for excellence in journalism.
Other 2012 CARAH honourees included Trinidadians Anya Ayoung Chee, of Project Runway fame received the Vanguard award; soccer star Shaka Hislop received the award for excellence in sports; and Robert Greenidge, pan master with the Jimmy Buffett Band, received the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Award. Bahamian Andy Ingraham, CEO of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, received the Trail Blazer Award.
In his response, master pianist Monty Alexander said he was humbled to receive the award. He said he has been a musical ambassador for Jamaica for over 50 years and would continue to be so. He said it was important for young people to learn to play a musical instrument as it provides an avenue to channel their creativity and keep them occupied and out of trouble.
One of the most prominent Caribbean organizations in the United States, the non-profit Institute of Caribbean Studies was established in 1993.
Focusing on education, advocacy and action on issues that impact Caribbean-Americans and the Caribbean countries themselves, ICS also works to advance the interests of Caribbean-Americans and to raise the profile of Caribbean Americans and their contributions to the United States.