Jamaicans in New York Mobilised to Assist the Relief Effort


An emergency meeting of Jamaican nationals in New York was convened at the office of the Consul General in Manhattan last Wednesday (Sept.15) to mobilize the community’s response to the relief effort in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.
The meeting, which was hosted by Consul General, Dr. Basil K. Bryan, included leaders of community groups and organizations, members of the Clergy and alumni associations as well as representatives of the business community.
Among the officials present were Deputy President for the Borough of Brooklyn, Yvonne Graham; State Assemblyman, Nick Perry; Una Clarke, representing the Governor of New York State; Commissioner Guillermo Linares from the Mayor’s office and New York Councilman, Leroy Comrie.
Dr. Bryan welcomed those in attendance and appealed for their assistance as the country began the recovery process. “It is a part of our history as Jamaicans to demonstrate generosity at times such as this, as we share in the dislocation being experienced by our nationals at home. For this reason, I am confident that we will rise on this occasion”, he stated.
An appeal letter with a list of urgently needed items was circulated to the meeting. Dr. Bryan informed the gathering, that a Jamaica Hurricane Ivan Relief Fund 2004, had been established and cheques and international money orders could be made payable to the fund. He emphasized that all monies received would be acknowledged with an official receipt.
A telephone link was made with Ambassador Gordon Shirley in Washington, who gave a quick overview of the government’s relief effort and pointed out ways in which the Jamaican community in New York could assist.
Ambassador Shirley also urged the community to extend support to other Caribbean countries that were affected by the devastating hurricane.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Linares announced that the city would make nine firehouses available for use as drop off/collection points. This will comprise four in Brooklyn, two in Queens and three in the Bronx.
Mr. Tony King, from the New York office of the Jamaica Tourist Board, also addressed the meeting and gave a brief update with respect to the tourism sector, while representatives from Air Jamaica also updated the meeting on relief efforts by the national carrier.
Air Jamaica will be offering a special fare for persons going to Jamaica and will be allowing one additional piece of luggage per person until October 14.
Several shipping companies were identified as drop-off points for a limited period and they will also be offering free or discounted rates to assist the country’s relief efforts. It was also announced that a special fee for remittances would be in place for a limited period.

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