Ethiopia’s Crown Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie is the special invited guest to Jamaica’s Heritage Week celebrations this month but most significant will be his presence on the island on Oct. 17 when 143 national citizens are distinguished on Heroes Day.
The grandson of former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I accepted an invitation from the government of the 60-year-independent nation and is expected to arrive on Oct. 13 to witness presentations to contributors to the island’s excellence.
“I am very happy that the prince’s visit will take place during Heritage Week when the nation pays tribute to the work and sacrifice of the national heroes as well as every day heroes who make such a difference in our communities,” Olivia Grange, minister of culture, sports, entertainment and gender said.
Revered by members of the Rastafarian community, the president of the Crown Council of Ethiopia and royal benefactor is expected to attend numerous events including meetings with the Council on Reparations; and with Rastafarians who regard his grandfather as King of Kings and Lord of Lords as well their spiritual guide.
The prince’s grandfather received a tumultuous welcome in 1966 when he visited the island.
Crowds of adoring Jamaicans lined the streets to greet “the king from the East” Marcus Garvey Jr. advised should be hailed.
Three years after that visit, the independent nation dedicated Garvey, the first national hero.
The African royal will meet with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition leader Mark Golding.
Ironically, the hallmark honors will be presented at Kings House, the official residence of Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, emissary to Britain’s King Charles III.
Grange a member of parliament is named for honor with nine others deemed worthy of the Order of Jamaica — the fifth highest honor.
She will join Olympian Shelly Fraser Pryce, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, and musician Monty Alexander and others as contributors of outstanding distinction.
Illinois and New York residents Ephraim Martin and nurse Sandra Lindsay will be presented a badge of honor which acknowledges meritorious service to the island.
Martin is the Jamaica-born founder of Martin’s International Foundation, executive producer of the Chicago Music Awards, the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA), the African/Caribbean International Festival of Life, and the Martin’s International brand of festivals and awards shows.
The Chicago-based immigrant will be presented Jamaica’s National Badge of Honor for Meritorious Service.
“I am humbled and proud to be recognized by the Jamaican government for years of service to the people I love so dearly,” Martin said.
“I, and the many people who support my vision of celebrating Jamaican culture and artistic excellence around the world, are profoundly grateful.”
Lindsay received national acclaim here when she volunteered to be injected with a vaccine reputed to reduce suffrage and deaths caused by the COVID-19 virus.
In a nationally broadcasted ceremony, former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced the Caribbean immigrant who emerged the poster child when she rolled up her sleeves, braving fears of uncertainty of the effectiveness of the injection scientist believed would reverse the devastation from the pandemic.
Since then President Joe Biden has rewarded the Long Island nurse for her gesture by presenting her the Medal of Freedom.
Although prominent names will be distinguished for performance and contribution to the island, a majority of recipients are ordinary citizens who exhibited extraordinary service of valor during the most challenging circumstances.
Among them, nine individuals will receive badges for gallantry.
The list includes seven civilians and two police officers.
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