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Miami — Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, says that the Diaspora has a unique contribution to make to Jamaica’s development.

She was speaking at a community luncheon, hosted by the Caribbean Bar Association of Central Florida (CBACF) and the Jamaican American Association of Central Florida (JAACF), at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando on Monday April 11.

The Ambassador urged nationals to re-evaluate their passion for Jamaica, by engaging in the political decision-making process of their communities in the U.S.  She also encouraged those who were eligible to become U.S. citizens , as they would be able to better leverage for personal development, as well as for Jamaica’s development.

The Ambassador, on her first official visit to South Florida, also used the opportunity to visit nationals in Central Florida. During her national outreach across Diaspora communities in the US, she observed that the passion of the nationals she encountered reflected an interest in their homeland and, simultaneously, demonstrated a positive impact on the development of their American communities.

She noted that Jamaicans have been contributing to the development of the United States for more than 200 years, with the migration of John Brown Russworm, a Jamaican, who became the first African-American graduate from Bowdoin College, and the third African-American college graduate. Russworm went on to co-found and co-edit “Freedom’s Journal”, Black America’s first newspaper.

She chronicled years of migrant activities that laid the foundation for the long-standing friendship and cooperation between Jamaica and the U.S., and commended Jamaicans for their outstanding contributions to their U.S. communities.

Turning to Jamaica’s economic development, the Ambassador highlighted the Government’s focus on trade and investment, indicating that efforts were being made to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of Jamaicans, at home and in the Diaspora.

Turning to the upcoming National Diaspora Conference to be held in June in Jamaica, she urged participation from overseas community-based groups and individuals, and invited submissions so the agenda can be framed around Diaspora issues.

 Ambassador Marks also paid courtesy calls on the mayors of Orlando and Orange County, Buddy Dyer and Teresa Jacobs, respectively. She was accompanied by Consul Desreine Taylor of the Consulate General of Jamaica and Superintendent Vance Carter, who is responsible for Immigration and Deportation.

 

By Cheryl Wynter, JIS Reporter