Better late than never was quite alright for Nehemiah Bailey as he stepped up recently to receive the Governor General’s Jamaica Diaspora Award of Excellence.
Bailey was honoured a year later than he should have been after last summer’s third bi-annual conference was postponed because of unrest in Kingston.
“I didn’t mind the wait,” said Bailey who was nominated by the Jamaica-Canada Diaspora Foundation. “It’s quite an honour and one which I do not take lightly when you consider the vast number of nationals that are shining in the Diaspora.”
Bailey graduated from the University of Technology and was employed as a lab technician with the University of the West Indies and as an engineering technician with ALCAN Jamaica. He then taught technical and industrial arts in Jamaica’s elementary schools for five years before accepting a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) scholarship in 1963 to study in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
After completing an Industrial Arts and Technical Education certificate program, he relocated in June 1964 to Toronto where he has been an active member of the community, serving as a Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) president, founding president of the National Council of Jamaicans and Supportive Organizations and as a director of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council.
Bailey, who “dabbles” in real estate part-time, was also a member of the Toronto Police Community Liaison Committee and a participant in national consultations for the 2001 World Conference Against racism in South Africa.
Outside of community service, he worked for 17 years in the aviation technology field with Litton Systems Canada Ltd. and taught technical and vocational education with the Toronto District School Board until his retirement in 1998.
Jamaica’s honorary consul in Seattle, Enid Dwyer, and former teacher Alda Flowers were also recognized with Diaspora Awards for their contributions in the United States and England respectively.