Byron Lee has been awarded The Order of Jamaica, the fourth highest honour; and it was bestowed on him at a special ceremony at the Tony Thwaites Wing of the University Hospital of The West Indies. The bandleader who for more than 50 years, has had an amazing and fruitful career that put Jamaica on the musical map, was flown home to Jamaica by air ambulance last Saturday from Miami, Florida.
Two years ago Lee was diagnosed with bladder cancer and prior to that he had been battling transitional cell cancer for which he was being treated in a Miami.
Governor General Sir Kenneth Hall was on hand to present the award to Lee who has already racked up about 150 awards for outstanding achievement. He was awarded the Order of Distinction in 1982 and it was upgraded in 2007 to Commander Class.
The 73 year old icon strayed from football, his first love, to start a band with friends; and from some crude instruments consisting of a door, a box for the drum, spoons, a grater for percussion and Byron’s antique guitar, Byron Lee and The Dragonnaires was formed.
Becoming a Jamaican institution, the tight, impressive and extremely talented band
has been making waves throughout the world for all these decades, with their signature Caribbean sound.
Realizing his dream of organizing a carnival in Jamaica came true eventually and Lee has been able to step away from his brainchild, feeling assured that it will be well produced and sustained within Jamaica’s cultural sphere.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange as well as close family and friends attended the ceremony, where Lee was further lauded by the Prime Minister, who spoke of the wonderful impact Lee’s music had on people from all over.
Yardflex extends the best wishes a whole lot of love and a hearty congratulations to Byron Lee.