Jamaica set to honor 120 heroes — Marley among chosen
Cedella Marley for One Love COVID-19.
Caribbean Life, October 16-22, 2020 11
Undeniably, 2020 has been a
year of enlightenment, visionary
pandemic revelations and challenging
In light of some of the unprecedented
disclosures, large and
small communities throughout
the world unearthed heroes with
more than a few elevating some
to the status of superhero.
Jamaica will exalt a chosen 120
individuals on Oct. 19, during
their National Heroes Day ceremony.
Officiated by the governor general,
who acts as Queen Elizabeth
II’s emissary, a virtual ceremony
will honor those whose service
to the island demonstrates exemplary
dedication worthy of public
acknowledgement and presentation
of awards of the highest honors
ategorized by their selfless
deeds that contribute to the betterment
of the island, individuals
will receive the Medal of Gallantry,
Order of Distinction, Order of
Merit and the Order of Jamaica.
This year, the latter rewards
only five citizens — mostly politicians,
however the handful also
includes Merlene Ottey, a ninetime
Olympian who brought glory
to the island winning three silvers
and six bronze medals in track
and field categories.
Forty-six individuals will
receive the Order of Distinction in
the commander class (CD).
Among them comedian Oliver
Samuels and Cedella Marley.
It is probably not a surprise that
the first-born to Rita and Robert
Nesta Marley — granddaughter of
Cedella Booker, mother to Skip, a
burgeoning pop sensation, sister of
Grammy winners Ziggy, Stephen,
Damian, Sharon, coffee mogul,
Rohan, actor/singer Kymani,
Grammy nominee, Julian, along
with Robert and other achieving
off-springs — would achieve honorary
status in Jamaica.
A designer, actress, singer,
author, producer, philanthropist,
she is the latest Marley to be
named a national hero destined to
follow in the footsteps of her parents
and grandmother who previously
won the distinction.
Described to be a multi-talented
Jamaican, Cedella Marley
will receive the Order of Distinction
for her relentless effort in
restoring the hopes and dreams of
nationals disillusioned by the government’s
abandonment of the
national soccer team.
When the government all
but gave up funding the Reggae
Gyrlz, Marley quickly acted to
the aid of the athletes, the sports
industry and the island.
She rescued the national team,
salvaged their reputation and in
the process steered the women to
unprecedented goals of qualifying
for World Cup competition.
She not only supplied financial
support, outfits and other tangible
necessities but with her celebrity
attracted publicity and world
attention to the island.
Needless to say, as top cheerleader
the team played in France
and for the first time in the
nation’s history earned a new
title as trailblazers.
For this Marley, the heroic tradition
might have started in 1981
when her father, the avowed king
of reggae was distinguished by
the government with the Order
In 1996, her mother Rita was
accorded similar honors with an
nd following the peaceful
transition of Bob’s mother Cedella
in 2008, the government of
Jamaica bestowed the fifth highest
civic honor to the matriarch.
Allegedly the honor rewarded
her lifelong dedication to fostering
the island’s music. She established
a Nine Miles, sanctuary
in the parish of St. Ann; championed
an annual reggae festival
in Miami, Florida, recorded and
released the island’s genre and
authored children’s books that
expressed the ideals of a Jamaican
That Cedella’s namesake offspring
is now being revered with
national citizenry elevates the
profile of the Marley women as
well as enhance the global appreciation
of the gender the island
regards to be fairly vested.
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