Jamaicans To Take Part In Municipal Elections In Florida Next Month


Barrington Russell and Dale Holness, two Jamaican businessmen in South Florida, are seeking election as commissioners in the cities of Lauderdale Lakes and Lauderhill respectively, in local elections to be held next month.
Already, there are six Jamaicans serving in elected positions in Broward County, three of whom hold office in the five-seat city of Miramar commission. They are Winston Barnes, Fitzroy Salesman and George Pedlar. Aster Knight was elected to office in Southwest Ranches, while two other Jamaicans hold positions on the Lauderdale Lakes council.
Three-term commissioner Hazelle Rogers, is the first woman of Caribbean descent to hold elected office in South Florida, while Mayor of Broward County Samuel Brown is serving his second term.
Since moving to South Florida, Mr. Russell, a real estate consultant and owner of BAR Realty in Broward County, has always been actively involved in community projects. These include working with school mentorship programmes, the church, and serving on community boards. He is also the President of the Lauderdale Lakes/West Sunrise chapter of the Kiwanis Club.
Mr. Russell has expressed a desire to work with the diverse population of approximately 30,000 in the City of Lauderdale Lakes, a large number of whom are Jamaicans.
A real estate consultant, Dale Holness has a successful realty and mortgage business, which he started some 15 years ago in Lauderhill.
His conviction that “we must give back to society” has empowered him over the years to work tirelessly in community service. This passion drove him to become politically active and he has worked on several local government and presidential elections.
His political and community involvement has seen him sitting on school boards and committees dedicated to developing housing and business alliances. He also has a long list of voluntary service participating in the Kiwanis Club, the local chamber of commerce, among others.
This is Mr. Holness’ third try at a position in the Lauderhill municipality and he has pledged his commitment to building a stronger and vibrant community, ensuring equity and diversity.
On his agenda are issues of economic development and education. His ambition is to make Lauderhill culturally alive with excellent schools and secure neighbourhoods.
A top priority of the city commission at this time is twinning Lauderhill with a major Jamaican city, as part of the International Sister Cities Programme. Proposed cities include Montego Bay or Mandeville.Dr. Marcia Magnus, Jamaican national and President of the lobby group Caribbean American Action Political Committee, sees the rise of Jamaicans to political office in Florida as an indication of the population’s impact on the development of the state.
She said that three priority issues affecting Caribbean Americans were immigration, unequal treatment in the United States criminal justice system and education. She urged legislators to be more sensitive to those and other diverse issues.
She also encouraged voters to ensure that their interests were served, while keeping the politicians accountable.

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