Jamaicans in Washington Celebrate Independence

Photo: JIS Photographer Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Stephen Vasciannie (centre); shares a light moment with Former Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Chief of Staff, General John Saunders (right), and wife Joan Saunders (second right); and former Ambassador to the United Nations, Curtis Ward (left) and Mrs. Ward; at the service of celebration in commemoration of Jamaica’s 51st anniversary of Independence at Dunbarton Chapel, Howard University in Washington DC, on August 4, 2013.

Story Highlights

  • The annual church service was attended by persons from the Washington metropolitan area, Baltimore and Richmond, Virginia.
  • Jamaicans within the Diaspora were working together to make the difference needed for a vibrant growing economy
  • Jamaicans need to recommit themselves to good values and attitudes

Hundreds of Jamaicans turned out last Sunday, August 4, at Howard University’s Dunbarton Chapel for a service of thanksgiving in celebration of Jamaica’s 51st anniversary of Independence.

The annual church service, which is the centrepiece of the Jamaican Embassy’s commemorative activities, was attended by members of the Jamaican community in the Washington metropolitan area, Baltimore and Richmond, Virginia.

Addressing the service, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Professor Stephen Vasciannie, encouraged the gathering to redouble their commitment to greater productivity and increased efficiency and to collectively ensure that Jamaica continues on a path to sustainable growth and development.

Ambassador Vasciannie noted that even as the country celebrates 51 years of independence there are still hurdles to overcome but these can be addressed by steadfastly working towards building on the positive legacies of Jamaicans both at home and abroad.

In the meantime, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kingston, The Most Rev. Charles Dufour , who delivered the sermon, noted that Jamaicans within the Diaspora were working together to make the difference needed for a vibrant growing economy where opportunities abound; and he called on them to assist the government in providing education opportunities for Jamaican students.

The Archbishop said if Jamaicans are to optimise their true potential, they need to recommit themselves to good values and attitudes.  This, he said, will enable them to conquer the world.

“What do I see when I look upon our beloved Jamaica?  (I see) beautiful, talented people, a warm people, the most charming, charismatic people with a heart of gold, a verdant land.  Jamaicans are simply poised to be the best that they can be in the world,” he said.

This year, the offering from the service is designated for the Hammond Vale Basic School in Claremont, St Ann; the Heroes Circle Basic School, Kingston; and the Good Shepherd Foundation.

Jamaican theologian and Dean of the School of Divinity at Howard University, Dr. Bertram Melbourne, conducted the service with assistance from Rev. Sylvia McDonald Kaufman, pastor at the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel at Howard University; and Rev Kortright Davis, Pastor of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church.

Several members of the Diplomatic Corps in Washington as well as representatives of some international organizations also attended the service along with Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Sir George Alleyne and Shirley Nathan-Pulliam of the Maryland House of Delegates.

JIS Social