Caribbean American Advocate Gets Order of Distinction From Homeland

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Irwine G. Clare, Sr, l., with Jamaica PM Portia Simpson Miller at the Hilton, NY Hotel in August 2012.
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Oct. 17, 2012: Jamaican-born, Caribbean American advocate, Irwine G. Clare, Sr., has been bestowed with the honor of Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government of Portia Simpson Miller.

The honor this week was in recognition of the “invaluable contribution to Jamaicans in the Diaspora.” Clare was among thirty-nine persons who received the Order of Distinction, in the rank of Officer, for their outstanding work in the areas of community development, literacy, religion, aviation, advertising and the promotion of Jamaican culture, promotion of international trade, education, public service, sports development, broadcasting, law enforcement and defence, and the legal profession on National Heroes Day, October 15, 2012 on the lawns of King’s House, in St Andrew.

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, who presided at the function, presented awards to a total of 157 Jamaicans including Order of Merit; Order of Jamaica; Order of Distinction, Commander and Officer ranks; the Medal of Honour for Meritorious Service; and Badge of Honour for Meritorious, and Long and Faithful Service.

In commenting on the honor, the co-founder and managing director of the Queens, NY-based Caribbean Immigrant Services told NAN exclusively that he is “totally elated and honored.”

“My commitment is to my community and so to be recognized by my country with a national honor is truly amazing,” said Clare.

But he remained humble giving “thanks and appreciation to all those who have helped and supported me and given me guidance in making me remain true to the causes I support on behalf of the Jamaican and Caribbean communities here in the Diaspora.”

Clare, Sr. co-founded CIS in 1995 with the ultimate goal of mobilizing and empowering Caribbean nationals living in the United States. He has since established himself as a major community advocate on immigration reform and issues germane to the Caribbean community and is a well sought after speaker. In fact since 1995, Clare and his organization have assisted in excess of 150,000 Caribbean nationals in becoming citizens of the United States.

He spends much of his time speaking at dozens of forums and to religious and civic groups about the importance of being involved and empowered and is heard on radio as well as in churches to college campuses to community organizations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Washington and other areas throughout the country. Clare also chairs the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Diaspora Committee in New York and is the recipient of numerous awards and citations including a congressional award from Congressman Gregory Meeks.

Twenty-three other honorees received the Badge of Honor for Meritorious Service for their contribution to family health services, education, community service, public service, agriculture, religion, and health; while 19 persons received the Badge of Honor for Long and Faithful Service.

A total of 34 uniformed personnel were recognized with the Medal of Honor for Meritorious Service.

Late Jamaican reggae legend, Winston Hubert “Peter Tosh” McIntosh, was the sole recipient of the Order of Merit. The internationally renowned musician was recognized posthumously for his “seminal contribution to the evolution of Jamaican popular music”.

Late Sports Administrator, Howard Aris, was one of nine Jamaicans conferred with Jamaica’s fifth highest honor, the Order of Jamaica. He, too, was honored posthumously for significant contribution to Jamaica’s sports development.

The other awardees in this category were: Enid Bennett, for outstanding contribution to politics; Professor Terrence Forrester, for sterling contribution to medical research and the establishment of medical research facilities in Jamaica; Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, for outstanding contribution to the development of Jamaican popular music; Neville “Bunny Wailer” Livingstone, for pioneering contribution to Jamaica’s musical development; Professor Henry Lowe, for contribution to science, in particular, the field of Nutraceuticals; Ferdinand Mahfood, for philanthropy and the establishment of Food for the Poor; The Most Rev. Donald Reece, for service to education and religion and Derrick Rochester, for service to trade unionism, politics, business, and community service.

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