Jamaicans in Canada Welcome New High Commissioner


Jamaicans in Canada have pledged to work closely with newly appointed High Commissioner, Carl Marshall in furthering the cause of nationals at home and abroad.
The promise came at a ceremony held recently at the headquarters of the Jamaican Canadian Association in Toronto, to officially welcome Mr. Marshall and his family.
Those in attendance included cultural icon Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou), community leaders, representatives of the consular corps and the police.
Paul Barnett, President of the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations, said his organization, which consists of some 45 past students associations, was willing to work with the High Commissioner to overcome any challenges, while Olive Steele, President of the National Council of Jamaicans and Supportive Organizations in Canada (NCJSOC), gave the support of the organization’s 35 member associations.
Others who spoke included Madeline Blackman, Consul General of Antigua and Barbuda; Delrine Jones, Immediate Past President of Women for PACE (Canada) and Bill DeLisser, President of the Jamaica Foundation of Hamilton, who implored Mr. Marshall not to forget those groups that were spreading the Jamaican culture quietly. These he said, included churches, domino clubs and community groupings.
In his reply, High Commissioner Marshall indicated that he was looking forward to working with all Jamaicans residing in Canada. “We are going to join hands together; we are going to be a strong team; we are going to assist those Jamaicans here who need to get back on that path of wholesome living,” he stated.
He noted further, that it was important for the various Jamaican organizations to ensure that they remained relevant and effective in representing the interests of those they serve.
“Each Jamaican community is a vibrant part of the wider environment in which it exists and functions, and if a cross section of the Jamaican community does not feel at all times that the organization is representing the vision and aspiration of their country and supporting their growth and development process, it will become for them a moribund organization,” he pointed out.
Commending Jamaicans overseas for their assistance to the country, High Commissioner Marshall said, “you support your country; you stand tall in whatever you do; Jamaica is proud of you. Continue to make sterling contributions in the performance of your many tasks so that Canada will be forced to reckon with the Jamaicans here.”
The High Commissioner was especially pleased that Miss Lou was able to attend the welcome function. Stating that Miss Lou is more than a cultural icon, he said she “represents victory on the journey to full freedom. Miss Lou has brought respectability to our language. She represents an act of emancipation from mental slavery – a fulfillment of the call of Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley.”
Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Vivia Betton told the audience that Mr. Marshall, who has been in Canada since July 4, was eminently qualified to represent Jamaica in that country.
High Commissioner Marshall, who served as Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Nigeria from 2000 to 2003, was one time Speaker of the House of Representatives and he represented the constituency of Northwestern Clarendon for eight years. An important element of his role here, said the Consul General, was to strengthen the bonds between the Jamaicans in Canada and at home.
Entertainment was provided by the Heritage Singers, the Caribbean Folk Performers, 15-year old singer Yanique Lawrence and poet Trevor Lawrence, who presented the Mr. Marshall and his wife Eileen with copies of his poems “Hey Lickle Bwoy” and “Hey Lickle Girl.”

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