|Trinidad-born clergyman honoured in Jamaica - Aug 15|
|2010 - Caribbean Church News|
|Friday, 13 August 2010 14:40|
Trinidad born clergyman and Anthony Sabga Caribbean Awards For Excellence Laureate (2006), the Very Reverend Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon, was one of five persons conferred the Order of Jamaica (OJ), that country’s fourth highest award on August 6, the 48th anniversary of that country’s Independence.
The Jamaican Independence Honours List, of 98 awardees for various honours, was published in the Jamaican press. Ramkissoon was among the three inaugural laureates in the Caribbean Awards in 2006, when he was awarded the Public & Civic Contributions prize. The other laureates were Trinidadian filmmaker, Robert Yao Ramesar (Arts & Letters), and Jamaican medical scientist, Prof Terrence Forrester (Science & Technology).
Ramkissoon started the Mustard Seed Community (MSC) mission in Jamaica in 1978 when he was a lecturer at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. The community sprouted in inner-city Kingston, giving itself a mandate of providing care services for children with disabilities. It has since expanded its services to the provision of educational facilities, home care for the elderly, and day care services for children, and people living with HIV/AIDS. Ramkissoon’s mission is the largest entity in Jamaica for the care of disabled and HIV-infected children, and the only one to provide long term residential care for pregnant teenagers.
The MSC has also since expanded its reach across Jamaica and outside the Caribbean. It has 13 chapters in Jamaica, two in the Dominican Republic, five in Zimbabwe, three in Nicaragua, and ten chapters in the USA. It is the largest NGO in the Caribbean and Central America for disabled and abandoned children. Its latest initiative is a new ministry in Nicaragua called “Christ in the Garbage” – a reference to the many children who search the garbage dumps for food in the underdeveloped countries of the world.
In addition to its care-provision services, the MSC has started a number of income generating projects for the less fortunate in Jamaica. These include fish and egg farming, vegetable farming, and a ceramics factory. The MSC also works well beyond the pale of traditional poverty alleviation in providing Internet access for inner city communities, homework assistance, and the creation of a community radio station in Jamaica which broadcasts 24 hours a day. Its vision and mission is to remove the stigma of poverty, and enable the disadvantaged to lead fuller, more rewarding lives through their own efforts, as well as through assistance.
Ramkissoon was born in Trinidad in 1953, and has lived in Jamaica since 1970, where he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1984. He has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout the Americas, including the Ivey Inter-American Humanitarian Award for the Americas (2003), Florida International University Humanitarian of the Year (2005), Commander of Distinction of Jamaica (2007), UWI Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) (2007), and an honorary degree from Providence College, Rhode Island in the US (2008).
The conferral allows Ramkissoon to use the title “The Honourable” for the rest of his life. Other recipients of the Order of Jamaica this year included UWI Professor Emeritus Sylvia Wynter, and a former US Ambassador to Jamaica, Susan Cobb.________________________________________________________________________________________ **DISCLAIMER**: User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Camsel/Catholic News or its staff. Camsel/Catholic News accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments. Please help us keep our site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option. Camsel/Catholic News reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed. Before posting, please refer to the Comments Policy under Resources