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Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has stressed that Government and charitable organisations must work together to bring about the development of the nation, while guarding against perpetuating the dependency syndrome.
Addressing the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) 25th annual benefit gala and auction in Lower Manhattan on October 19, the Prime Minister said that organizations, such as the AFJ, do have a part to play.”While the government plays its part, organizations like the AFJ are also important in the process. You do not seek to be associated with mere handouts, helpful though those may be. Such an approach, at best, only serves to perpetuate that culture of dependency from which people need to pull themselves, if real transformation is to take place,” the Prime Minister said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller told the audience that a centre for Caribbean philanthropy, which is an outgrowth of the University of the West Indies Development And Endowment Fund (UWIDEF), the recent launch of the AFJ Diaspora Giving Programme and the AFJ Cobb Family Lecture Series, presented dynamic mechanisms and new parameters through which persons or groups interested in making meaningful contribution to the growth and development of Jamaica, might do so.
She praised the AFJ for the constancy and worth of its friendship with Jamaica over the years and that the relationship went beyond monetary contributions.
“For quarter of a century, you have consistently expanded your programmes of involvement and support, reaching out in areas such as healthcare and education, while also providing assistance in human and economic development. The long list of beneficiaries and the substantial funds raised and disbursed over this period, firmly positions you as a leading charitable organisation, dedicated to the cause of meaningfully helping the people of our island and for this we are indeed grateful. I would like, on behalf of the government and people of Jamaica, to publicly thank the AFJ for its well placed humanitarian investment in our people and our country,” the Prime Minister said.
In saluting Chris Blackwell, recipient of the 2006 International Humanitarian Award, the Prime Minister described him as “a proponent of the extraordinary melding of cultures and talent and the single person most responsible for turning the world on to our reggae music”.
Since its inception in l982, the AFJ has donated millions of dollars to Jamaican charities.