Trench Town 'hero' to receive Badge of Honour today

Monday, October 16, 2017

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TREMAYNE Brown, whose bold effort saved a 12-year-old student from drowning in the raging flood waters of the Collie Smith Drive gully in Trench Town in September, will be honoured by the Government at King's House today.

Brown is among seven Jamaicans who will receive the Badge of Honour for Gallantry. His inclusion was confirmed when he attended dress rehearsals for individuals being honoured today, which were held at King's House last week.

He obviously would not have been included in the original list published by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen on August 6, in accordance with the regulations of the National Honours and Awards Act and on the advice of Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

However, he was added on the recommendation of the prime minister, which was echoed in the House of Representatives by Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment, and Sport Olivia Grange, and accepted by the Members of Parliament

Speaker of the House Pearnel Charles had also announced plans for him to be honoured at a sitting to be announced.

Six other individuals, who were originally listed, will also receive the Badge of Honour for Gallantry. They are: Howard Ainsworth Garcia, for rescuing “a man from the murky and treacherous waters of the Rio Cobre” on May 16; Anna Kay Annita Martin, for bravery in saving the lives of three younger siblings from a fire at their home (she escaped with minor burns to her ear and left arm); Davia Roman Tucker, for her courage in rescuing patients from a fire in the Intensive Care Unit of the Bustamante Hospital for Children on January 12; and Ramone Peart, Jamawno Riley and Jermaine Riley for risking their lives to save neighbours trapped by flood waters in Sunnyside, Linstead, St Catherine, in May.

Brown was added to the list on September 10, more than a month after the original list was released. His citation, which triggered a lengthy round of applause from fellow honorees and well-wishers attending the weekend rehearsals at King's House, and which will be read today by presenter Fae Ellington, states that he is being honoured for “his act of bravery displayed when he jumped into a gully with gushing rainwater to save the life of a 12-year-old boy in Trench Town in September, 2017”.

However, most Jamaicans would have already been well-briefed on the event, which went viral on the Internet, especially after a video captured by another Trench Town resident, Chrisanne Clarke, was uploaded to Youtube.

Jamaican-born Brown, 24, was deported home from Britain just six months earlier, after serving three years in a prison on drug charges. He went to England at age six with his father and was well on his way to distinction in his education, after obtaining a diploma in health and social care, when, according to him, he was drawn into selling drugs.

“I blame myself. I blame myself up to this day,” Brown told the Jamaica Observer in an interview shortly after his rescue event, in his slightly British accent.

And since then he has been urging people in his community to consider education as the route to success, instead of drugs.

“You can go there and get a job and earn 10 times more than if you go the illegal way. It is just a matter of time before you get caught,” he warns other Jamaicans tempted by the drug trade.

Both Prime Minister Holness and the People's National Party's candidate for St Andrew Southern, where campaigning has been continuing for the October 30 by-election, Mark Golding, have commended Brown for his efforts to turn his life around.

Since the rescue of 12-year-old Renaldo Reynolds, a large number of local firms have flooded him with gifts, including the offer of a job for the unemployed “hero”.

The Badge of Honour may be awarded to civilian residents of Jamaica and to foreign nationals who are employed in Jamaica's Diplomatic and Consular Missions overseas in the following three categories: Gallantry, awarded to individuals who have performed acts of gallantry or acts of heroism, or who have shown great courage in circumstances of extreme danger; Meritorious Service, awarded to individuals who have rendered loyal and meritorious service beneficial to Jamaica; and Long and Faithful Service, awarded to individuals who have rendered long and valuable service worthy of special recognition.

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