Harry Belafonte awarded Jamaica’s Order of Merit


Harry Belafonte

KINGSTON,  Jamaica  – American singer, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte, whose mother was of Jamaican descent, has been accorded Jamaica’s fourth highest order — the Order of Merit — for outstanding contribution in the field of music.

Belafonte, 91, was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing calypso music with an international audience in the 1950s. His breakthrough album Calypso  is the first million-selling LP by a single artist.

He heads 130 individuals who have been recognised in this year’s National Honours and Awards list.

The appointments, which became effective yesterday and will be presented on National Heroes Day in October, include the Order of Jamaica to four Jamaicans — Tourism Enhancement Fund Chairman Godfrey Dyer, for exceptional contribution in the field of tourism; Jamaica National Group General Manager Earl Jarrett, for exceptional contribution to the banking and financial sectors, public service, and volunteerism; singer and actor Grace Jones, for exceptional contribution in the field of entertainment internationally; and Giuseppe Maffessanti, for exceptional contribution to the construction industry, social development, welfare and philanthropy.

Thirty-one Jamaicans have been appointed to the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander and 36 to the Order of Distinction in the  rank of Officer.

The Badge of Honour for Gallantry has been awarded to nine Jamaicans.

Twenty individuals have been accorded the Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service while 29 will receive the Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service