Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced the Government’s decision to initiate a formal review of the process for the selection of candidates for National Honours and Awards (NHA).A broad-based review committee to be announced shortly will be responsible for recommending changes. The Review Committee will comprise representatives from State, Government, Opposition, and Civil Society. The Prime Minister has written to His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen to advise him of the appointment of the Review Committee.
The Review Committee will, inter alia, undertake the following:
- Examination of the existing process for the selection of candidates to be recommended for appointment to the National Orders, and to advise on action to be taken to strengthen same
- Establishment of such criteria that would guide, justifiable, merit-based selection, including the number of candidates to be awarded in each category
- Recommendation of systems of deeper due diligence and more robust vetting of shortlisted candidates
- Establishment of criteria that would prohibit the consideration for selection of any nominated candidate
- Recommendation of a methodology to foster and promote public awareness regarding the established and acceptable criteria to submit nominations for appointment to the National Orders
The Committee will conduct its review over a period of eight (8) months and will report its findings to the Cabinet.
The National Honours and Awards Act was promulgated on the 18th of July 1969, and its pertinent amendments, established the System of National Honours and Awards, governing the six (6) Orders of the Societies of Honour, and the Badges of Honour, and the Medals of Honour.
The System provides for the nomination of persons for appointment to the respective Orders, and their selection should ultimately represent the nation’s recognition of those who, by their service and contribution, have had a meaningful and significant impact on national life.
Periodic reviews of the process are therefore important to ensure the efficacy of the overall System of National Honours and Awards, and to make recommendations for policy or procedural changes to align our National Honours and Awards with Jamaica’s development goals, current realities, and spirit of the NHA.