Janet Bostwick was named as a Dame in Queen Elizabeth’s 2019 New Years Honours.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
EIGHT Bahamians are among 1,148 people selected to receive Queen Elizabeth’s 2019 New Years Honours - with Janet Bostwick named as a Dame.
Cabinet Secretary Camille Johnson has been chosen to receive the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for outstanding services to education and to public service. The award is given to people who render important non-military service in a foreign country.
Former Attorney General Janet Bostwick, the first woman elected to the House of Assembly, has been chosen to receive the honour of Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to politics. The award is given to people who contribute to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations and public service outside of the civil service.
Three men have also been selected for the Order of the British Empire (OBE): former Commissioner of Police Reginald Ferguson for services to the civil service, Reverend Leon Wallace for services to religion and the community and Reverend Alfred Cedric Culmer for services to religion.
Three people have been chosen to receive a British Empire Medal (BEM): Jason Harrison Hanna for services to business and the community, former Bahamas Hotel Catering & Allied Workers Union President Nicole Martin for services to industry and former Housing Minister Alfred Kenneth Russell for services to politics and business. The British Empire Medal is given to people for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recondition by the Crown.
One award recipient, Ms Martin, shared her delight yesterday of receiving an award.
“I am probably for the first time in my life speechless but I am very humbled by it,” Ms Martin said. “It’s a good feeling but it’s strange to me. It’s strange because normally in the field that I operate there is not a lot of recognition and we don’t do it for recognition, certainly I don’t so I’m trying to balance the recognition against what I actually did and it was not for anything more than seeing people treated fairly.”
Recalling how she learned of her award, she said: “I received a call from the Office of the Governor General sometime last week and they delivered the letter. When I opened it I was very surprised. I didn’t know the listing had come out already. I was only aware my name was proposed for the recognition until yesterday some people started calling.”
Ms Martin said she will celebrate the award––she just doesn’t know how yet.
“My children are very thrilled about it, as are some of my friends, as am I,” she said.
The list of New Year’s Honours was published in international press reports. The government of the Bahamas has not made an official statement on the matter.
A spokesman yesterday said the government has not been pleased by how the awards were announced this year, with countries not given the opportunity to make the announcement before the list was published in the London Gazette, as is usual. An official statement from the Bahamas government is expected today.
Eighteen Bahamians were given the Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honours. In January, Father Sebastian Campbell urged Bahamians on the list to reject the honour. Father Campbell, the chairman of the National Heroes Committee, has long called for an end to the colonial honours in favour of a Bahamian system. He has previously said the Queen’s Honours “belittle” the service and contributions of the men and women named.
This year, for the first time, the government announced the recipients of Bahamian National Honours. Thirty-eight Bahamians were on that list.