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  • United States Congresswoman, Yvette Clarke, says scores of power brokers with Jamaican lineage are making their way on the world stage in every sector of the US economy.
  • Ms. Clarke said Americans of Jamaican descent have impacted every aspect of US civil society, distinguishing themselves in areas ranging from politics to entertainment, business and sports.
  • Ms. Clarke pointed out that some of Jamaica’s finest treasures are living overseas and that the country has to find ways to engage them in the way forward and to create the kind of environment that would make them want to come back and assist in the development of the country.

United States Congresswoman, Yvette Clarke, says scores of power brokers with Jamaican lineage are making their way on the world stage in every sector of the US economy.

Giving the keynote address  at the annual awards banquet of  the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, at the Hilton Rose Hall, on November 13, Ms. Clarke said the Jamaican Diaspora in the United States has flourished in a big way, paving the way for Jamaica to be a leader in US-Caribbean relations.

“I have the distinct honour and privilege of representing the 9th Congressional District of New York, located in the beautiful borough of Brooklyn,” the Congresswoman said.

“Members of the Jamaican Diaspora have been ambassadors for this most industrious nation and they have made major contributions in building the relationship between Jamaica and the United States,” she added.

Ms. Clarke said Americans of Jamaican descent have impacted every aspect of US civil society, distinguishing themselves in areas ranging from politics to entertainment, business and sports.

“Whether you say the name Susan Rice, or Colin Powell or Mr. “Day-Oh” Harry Belafonte – we have had some Jamaican Americans of noteworthy status who have made us all very proud. This is something this country can build on in its quest for major economic development,” she noted.

General Colin Powell was born in New York City to immigrants from Jamaica. He went on to become a four-star General in the US Army, the National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a Secretary of State.

Dr. Susan Rice, whose grandparents were born in Jamaica, was the first African-American woman named as US ambassador to the UN. She would later become National Security Advisor to United States President, Barack Obama.

Harry Belafonte, born in 1927 in Harlem (New York), is of Jamaican descent.  He is an actor, television producer, philanthropist and a recognised social activist.

Other popular Americans of Jamaican descent include: Actress, Sheryl Lee Ralph; model, Naomi Campbell; rapper, 50 Cent; artiste and Black Eyed Peas member, Will.i.am; Los Angeles rapper, Tyga; Actress, Kerry Washington; R&B singer, Alicia Keys; basketball legend, Patrick Ewing, and Dave Paterson, the first black New York Governor.

Ms. Clarke pointed out that some of Jamaica’s finest treasures are living overseas and that the country has to find ways to engage them in the way forward and to create the kind of environment that would make them want to come back and assist in the development of the country.

“There is a wealth of talent out there that has intimate connections to this country. We in the House of Representatives have a hemispheric vision, an understanding of the hemisphere, where we can help countries move from middle status to first world status,” she said.

“I am part of a body in the House known as the Congressional Black Caucus that has members who have senior positions on a number of committees in Congress that have jurisdiction over trade and financial services. Whenever there is an economic uncertainty, we do what we can with the relationships we have, whether it is with the IDB, the World Bank or the IMF…to assist developing nations,” Ms. Clarke added.

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