Feature
Mayor of Miramar, Florida, Wayne Messam, with Jamaica Diasporans at an Emancipendence event hosted by the Mayor on August 1, 2019.
Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson

Story Highlights

  • Many Jamaicans in the Diaspora hold positions of prominence and use this to advance the country’s development. One such individual is Wayne Messam, Mayor of Miramar, Florida, in the United States.
  • Mr. Messam is a first generation American. His parents and siblings, who were all born in Manchester, migrated to the United States many years ago in pursuit of the American dream.
  • “My father was a former contract sugarcane cutter or some folks know that profession as farm workers back in the day in South Florida, where they later moved to the United States and that’s when I was born,” he said.

Many Jamaicans in the Diaspora hold positions of prominence and use this to advance the country’s development. One such individual is Wayne Messam, Mayor of Miramar, Florida, in the United States.

Mr. Messam is a first generation American. His parents and siblings, who were all born in Manchester, migrated to the United States many years ago in pursuit of the American dream.

“My father was a former contract sugarcane cutter or some folks know that profession as farm workers back in the day in South Florida, where they later moved to the United States and that’s when I was born,” he said.

Mayor Messam is a Jamaican at heart and regularly includes initiatives on his agenda that will benefit Jamaica.

This is evidenced by the strong relationship that already exists between the city of Miramar and the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC).

Members of the Kingston & St. Andrew Municipal Corporation Emergency/Disaster Response delegation with the Mayor of Miramar, Wayne Messam (centre), during a recent visit. To Mr. Messam’s left is Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Senator Delroy Williams.

 

“We already exchange best practices and the city of Miramar did a presentation for a delegation from Jamaica on emergency response and preparedness to assist Kingston to better prepare for disasters or events as a result of hurricanes, with the ultimate goal of preventing the loss of life as well as preparing the constituents in terms of such an event,” he told JIS News.

This partnership has served to strengthen Jamaica’s local disaster and risk management framework and help build resilience, in keeping with Jamaica’s commitment to the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 to 2030.

Long-term Urban Planning, according to Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, “must be done in an integrated and holistic manner, working across different sectors and involving different stakeholders, to create sustainability, liveability and resilience.”

Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams (right), and Deputy Mayor, Winston Ennis (left), with Mayor of Miramar, Florida, United States of America, Wayne Messam, during a recent visit. A delegation from the Kingston & St. Andrew Municipal Corporation travelled to Miramar, where they were exposed to best practices in preparing for hurricanes and other natural disasters.

 

This will also feed into the achievement of Jamaica’s overall sustainable development goals as captured in Vision 2030.

Mayor Messam also promotes Jamaica’s cultural heritage in Miramar, Florida, through a number of initiatives, such as helping to restore what many in Jamaica consider a historical landmark.

“We have a very beautiful and state-of-the-art cultural centre, which is similar to the Ward Theatre that I understand there is some current effort to restore and renovate. A delegation here has already gone to our cultural centre to get specifications on our theatres that could potentially be incorporated into the renovation of the Ward Theatre,” he noted.

In addition, Mayor Messam hosts an annual event in Miramar in early August to mark Jamaica’s Emancipation and Independence. This year was no exception. Mayor Messam hosted two events on August 1 and August 3 to mark Emancipation and Independence at the Miramar Cultural Centre and Shirley Branca Park Florida, respectively.

Mayor of Miramar, Florida, Wayne Messam (left) celebrating Emancipation through dance at his Emancipendence Event in Miramar, Florida on August 1, 2019

 

So, what’s next for Mayor Messam? Perhaps a place in the White House. Believe it or not, the Mayor is actively campaigning to become the next President of the United States. He recently shared with us his reason for running for the office of President.

If elected President, Mayor Messam says a major objective is to ease the burden of students’ loan debt that is crippling many.

“I am the first candidate to propose a plan to address student loan debt in the United States. And that is to forgive the outstanding 1.5 trillion dollars that is owed by 44 million Americans to the Department of Education,” he told JIS News.

A husband and father of three, Mayor Messam said that this revolutionary measure would allow many Americans to reach major milestones, such as starting a family or owning a home.

Another key objective of Mr. Messam if he attains the office of President would be to deepen the relations with Jamaica. This means expanding on common interests, recognising that there are many citizens, permanent residents and visitors of Jamaican heritage in the United States.

“There are many opportunities in the areas of trade, tourism and cultural exchange that have yet to be tapped,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chair of the Jamaica Diaspora Education Taskforce, Leo Gilling, said that Jamaicans living in the United States “are very proud to know that someone in his stature, a Jamaican, has aspirations of being the President of the United States.”

“In more ways than one, Wayne has helped to increase the visibility of a community that is mostly Jamaican. Most of the residents in Miramar are Jamaicans and so right across the country and the world, people are knowing about Miramar now,” he said.