Jamaicans Honoured in Birmingham


The Birmingham-based Association of Jamaican Nationals in the United Kingdom (UK), honoured seven local heroes from the West Midlands, during its annual Jamaica National and Local Heroes awards ceremony, held recently.
The awardees are Jamaican born, Ms. Cynthia Spence, Mr. Llewellyn Graham, Ms. Enid Rose Weir, Mr. Stephen Brooks, Ms. Gail Johnson, Mr. Michael Blake and Ms. Sarah Walters, who received the Local Heroes Youth Award. The recipients, who are all involved in social, educational, spiritual and community development, were all honoured for reflecting the attributes of Jamaica’s seven National Heroes.
Jamaican High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Burchell Whiteman, said the awardees were achievers, “who stand on the shoulders of their forerunners and fore parents, who demonstrated grit, determination and resilience for generations in this country, and played their part in changing the face and the quality of modern Britain.”
Mr. Whiteman congratulated the recipients and the Association of Jamaican Nationals, for preserving the traditions and the quality of the annual event. “You locate it in the context of Black History Month and the month in which Jamaica honours its heroes as well as a few of its citizens who have contributed beyond the call of duty,” he said.
The High Commission urged the audience to continue to make their mark on British society and protect their Jamaican connection. “Excel because you can, as well as because you must. Continue to see yourselves as having both rights and responsibilities in your community and your country of residence. I urge us all to continue to build our lives, individually and collectively in this country, with all the strength, innovativeness and determination, which we have inherited. I also encourage you to protect the Jamaican connection which brings you together in a setting like this, by continuing to arm yourselves with accurate information about our country,” Mr. Whiteman said.
He also invited the younger generation to look at investing in Jamaica and become involved in the Jamaica Diaspora movement.
“I invite the newer, younger generation and especially this West Midlands community, given the new relationships for 2012, to take a good look at increased investment in Jamaica. Jamaica’s record in investor friendliness is very high in the international rankings. Jamaica is also open for business – real estate, tourism attractions, a range of other services ICT among them; light manufacturing, fashion and more,” Mr. Whiteman said.
The Association of Jamaican Nationals is aimed at serving the interests of the Jamaican communities in Birmingham and adjoining areas. Members of the association stage several annual events, including a Thanksgiving Service for Jamaican’s Independence Day. It was recently granted registered charity status and also supported the Birmingham City Council bid for the Jamaican Olympic team to use Birmingham as its training base for the 2012 London Olympics.

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