LITTLE BAY – They worked. They served. They were honoured. On Monday, March 16th, 2015 six Montserratians received the nation’s highest honours and the 2015 National Honours and Awards Ceremony.
The event was hosted by Mrs Lorraine Lewis and Mr Basil Chambers at the the Montserrat Cultural Centre to an almost full house. His Excellency the Governor Adrian Davis and Mrs Davis, Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo, the Indian High Commissioner, and Hon. Leader of the Opposition Reuben Meade and Mrs Meade were in attendance.
Former station manager of ZJB Radio and Media Personality Mr William “Wilise” R.K. White received the Order of Merit. Although there were people in the audience who did not know of his work, the moment he opened his mouth there was a collective “Oh” as his distinctive voice was recognised from the radio commercials which he still does.
Also receiving the Order of Merit was former agriculturalist Mr William “Will” P. Ryan. Both men were honoured for meritorious contribution to national development.
Mrs. Mary Matilda Cooper received the Order of Distinction for giving distinguished and outstanding service. Her work as a midwife and nurse is legendary. She recalled having to work the first 18 months as a nurse without pay but stuck with is as she loved it.
Order of Excellence awards were given Miss Margaret Rose Willock and Mr Basil Morgan for their extraordinary and unwavering commitment to Montserrat, and their devoted and distinguished service. Rose is still the voice of ZJB’s Saturday morning Cultural Show and also trains and speaks at various local and regional women’s events. Mr Morgan, a former international cricket umpire and statistician remains active in the sporting arena on island.
The honour of the Order of National Hero was bestowed posthumously to Mr Robert W. Griffith, for his sacrifices for the greater good of Montserrat. Two of his grandsons read the family’s statement in which they reflected on his influence in the area of labour rights for workers, business development and faith.