Miami — Tuesday, April 12, was designated Audrey P. Marks Day in North Miami, in recognition of the accomplishments of Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey P. Marks.
Mayor of North Miami, Andre Pierre, presented a proclamation to the Ambassador, at the breakfast meeting of the Jamaica USA Chamber of Commerce (JAUSACC), in association with the Consulate General of Jamaica, at the Sheraton Airport Hotel, in Dania, South Florida.
The inaugural event, titled “Movers and Shakers” started the chamber’s series of quarterly breakfast sessions.
A career entrepreneur, Ambassador Marks was on her first official visit to South Florida, since her appointment last May. She told the audience that changes, in the Jamaican economy, will come through direct investments.
She said that the Government’s focus on growth was unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of Jamaicans, at home and abroad, and reconnecting with the Diaspora for national development. She suggested to the audience that they seek out trade and investment opportunities, at home and abroad, that can aid in Jamaica’s economic recovery, as well as for their own advancement.
Ambassador Marks remarked that she was encouraged by Jamaica's economic development, as she has observed the passion and concern within the Diaspora since her appointment.
She highlighted areas poised for development, such as the Kingston Redevelopment Programme, and the Falmouth cruise ship port which recently accommodated the world’s largest cruise liners. She also noted sectors such as agriculture and agro-processing, tourism, information technology, energy, health and education reform.
She addressed measures being taken to aid Jamaica’s national development, such as the drop in the crime rate, including the 44 percent decline in murders committed so far this year, compared to the same period last year. She cited legislation, including measures against corruption, the establishment of the independent commission to investigate police corruption and the reform of libel laws to promote greater transparency and accountability.
Referring to improvements in the process of doing business in Jamaica, the Ambassador said that JAMPRO has developed a ‘one stop’ programme to facilitate these interests. She also encouraged persons to work with the chamber, as well as consulates and foreign missions in their respective communities, for information and direction.
She commended the work of JAUSACC, and said that while Jamaica is located in the Caribbean, the engine for development can be located elsewhere, thus Government’s focus on working with its Diaspora.
“This is not beyond us, in an age where we readily transfer technology and at a time when opportunities for joint investments are being promoted and facilitated,” she stated.
The Ambassador was introduced by Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths. President of JAUSACC, Marie Gill, gave the welcome remarks, while board member, Dahlia Walker Huntington, chaired the breakfast meeting.
Presentations were made to the Ambassador by Dr. Rupert Rhodd, President of the UWI Alumni Chapter of South Florida. Jamaican artist, Richard Blackford, presented her with one of his sports paintings.
The event was attended by a cross-section of representatives of Jamaican business and community-based organizations in South Florida, public and civic officials, and potential business associates and individuals who indicated an interest in trade and investment opportunities in Jamaica.
By Cheryl Wynter, JIS Reporter