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Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry, has joined the growing list of Government officials and private sector concerns, calling on the Diaspora for help with the national development agenda.
Addressing close to a 1,000 patrons at the Independence Anniversary Ball, at the New York Hilton Hotel and Towers in Manhattan on August 16, Mr. Henry said that the administration “will be calling on the overseas community to support the floating of bonds, to help fund the long-term initiatives of its development agenda, which holds really significant prospects for piloting Jamaica out of its current economic stagnation.”
According to the Minister, there is significant scope for the support of the Diaspora in the national thrust towards bringing and strengthening global standards in the areas of early childhood education; the re-development of downtown Kingston, to include a financial centre; a new mass transit centre; the re-introduction of the passenger railway service; and the development of the Vernamfield Air Cargo Hub in Clarendon.
“We have to continue to bond together for the national cause. We have to continue to keep the Jamaican spirit high, amidst all the challenges that face us. We have to collectively decide to pull together on the road towards national, community and individual development,” Mr. Henry said.
Welcoming patrons to the gala, Consul-General, Geneive Brown Metzger, said that the thoughts and prayers of the Diaspora were with the athletes taking part in the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
“I salute our sporting ambassadors who are currently engaged in competition at the Games of the 29th Olympiad in Beijing, China, and to wish them well as they seek more gold and glory for self and country,” she said.
Three persons of Jamaican heritage were presented with the first Jamaica Independence Award.
Major Victor W. Terrelonge (Retired), one of a handful of surviving Tuskegee Airmen, who saw action in the Second World War, was recognised for outstanding courage and nationalism. Student and athlete, Donnette Annmarie Lee, of Star Early College High School in Brooklyn, was cited for academic excellence and leadership; and Evelyn Ruth Dyer, for community service.
Lorna Golding, wife of Prime Minister Bruce Golding, headed those in attendance. Others included Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Raymond Wolfe, and Mrs. Wolfe; United States (US) Ambassador to Jamaica, Brenda LaGrange Johnson; US Congresswoman, Yvette D. Clarke, and Chair of the Jamaica Independence Anniversary Committee, Michele Rollins, which organised the event.
The Independence Anniversary Ball climaxed two weeks of activities across the Tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, to celebrate Jamaica’s 46th Anniversary of Independence.