Newly appointed Consul-General to Toronto, George Ramocan, has challenged Jamaicans in Canada, who attended high schools in inner-city areas of Jamaica, to form past students associations.
Speaking to patrons attending the recent 21st Anniversary celebration of the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA), in Toronto, Canada, the Consul- General said graduates from these schools are sometimes shy about identifying that they attended these schools.
Consul at the Jamaican Consulate in Toronto, Nigel Smith (left), presents an award to founding member and past president of Mico Alumni Association, Winston Roach (right), for outstanding service to the organisation, at the 21st Anniversary celebrations of the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA), held recently in Toronto, Canada.
“I want to identify myself. I am a graduate of the Trench Town Comprehensive High School,” declared Mr. Ramocan. “The inner-city schools have done well and there are many graduates in well placed positions, but somehow we don’t have enough of them coming forward. I am calling upon them to begin to associate themselves with this Alliance and be proud to say I am from such and such a school in such and such a corner, and start a strong vibrant past students association,” he added.
In his first public address to a group in the Jamaican community since assuming duties on November 16, Mr. Ramocan told them that the Government and people of Jamaica are very appreciative of the work that members of the AJAA are doing in Canada for Jamaica, sometimes at great sacrifice.
“I want you to know that it has not gone unnoticed and the recipients of the various gifts that you have sent have all benefitted. The children have benefitted, the schools have benefitted and Jamaica as a whole has benefitted. I want you to understand that they are very grateful for the work that you are doing. When you are out there doing your fund-raising to help your alma mater, what you are doing makes a major difference in the lives of the many, many students of your alma mater,” he said.
Jamaica’s Consul-General to Toronto, George Ramocan (left) and Consul, Nigel Smith (right), with the four past and present Presidents of the 21-year-old Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA), at the association’s 21st anniversary celebrations, held recently in Toronto, Canada. From second left are: Barrington Ellis (Calabar); Ms. Alene Miller-Chen (current President from Ruseas); Ms. Olive Parkins-Smith (Ruseas); and Paul Barnett (Ardenne).
Mr. Ramocan added that the past students are not only assisting students and their old schools, but “you are also contributing to your nation and making an impact on Jamaica. There are many who would not have had the opportunity to complete school; there are many who would not have had the opportunity to do those exams they had to do; and there are many who would not have had the facilities within which to do their studies, had it not been for the work that you are doing,” he said.
The Alliance, which was formed in 1988, is an umbrella group for more than 40 Jamaican past students associations in Toronto. As part of its anniversary celebrations, 24 members were given awards for their hard work and dedication, including the four who have served as Presidents – Ms. Alene Miller-Chen, Mr. Paul Barnett, Ms. Olive Parkins-Smith and Mr. Barrington Ellis.
In congratulating all the awardees, Mr. Ramocan told them they are being recognised for their tireless years of giving and unrelenting commitment.
Consul at the Jamaican Consulate, in Toronto, Nigel Smith (left), presents an award to President of the Dinthill Technical Alumni Association, Ms. Diane Frans (right), for outstanding service to the organisation, at the 21st Anniversary celebrations of the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA), held recently in Toronto, Canada.
Turning to vocational training, Mr. Ramocan, who is a former Deputy Chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA, appealed to the alumni members to assist in getting more Jamaicans trained to supply the Canadian market in a variety of fields.
Also in attendance were Consul at the Jamaican Consulate General, Nigel Smith and Vice-Consul Ms. Andrea Anglin; Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) Canadian Director, Ms. Sandra Scott; York University’s Dean, Dr. Lorna Wright; President of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA), Ms. Audrey Campbell; and President of PACE (Canada) Mrs. Lorna King.