KINGSTON, Jamaica--The government of Jamaica announced Aug. 6, 2009, it will formally honor Ian Boyne, the 52-year-old pastor of the Church of God International in Jamaica, for his achievements as a journalist.
Mr. Boyne will receive the Commander of the Order of Distinction award, effectively the third-highest distinction in the land, for his work as a commentator, writer and reporter.
Strictly speaking, it is the fifth-highest government-sponsored award. However, the No. 1 accolade is for a "national hero," held only by historical figures who fought against slavery (which ended in 1838) and worked for Jamaican independence (accomplished in 1961).
The No. 2 honor goes only to prime ministers and the governor-general.
"I think the national honor is quite a tribute to the COG movement," Mr. Boyne told The Journal. "We have been told by our critics that our minds are so much on the world tomorrow that we are of no earthly good. This award to a longtime, quote, Armstrongite, unquote, proves otherwise."
The Jamaican pastor is a celebrity in his country.
He appears weekly on national television with his show, Profile, and writes a weekly newspaper column.
Desmond Allen, founding editor of the Jamaica Observer (jamaicaobserver.com) congratulated his colleague:
"Boyne has been a standard bearer and has generally managed to avoid the isms and schisms that divide journalists and reduce our prestige, a bad streak in us but for which we all need to take responsibility," Mr. Allen wrote. "Big up, Ian. You have done us proud."