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Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Vivia Betton has said that history had vindicated Jamaica’s decision made 43 years ago, to embark on the journey of nationhood.
“All the studies done on comparisons between where Jamaica was in 1962 and where we are now in social and economic terms, point to improvement and advancement. More of our people are educated, properly housed, have access to clean water and electricity, and there is a higher life expectancy than at any other time in our history,” she stated.
The Consul General was speaking at a flag-raising ceremony at Toronto’s City Hall on July 31 to mark the country’s 43rd anniversary of Independence. The event was organized by the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA).
Miss Betton pointed out that Jamaicans were “first-rate” and excelled in every field of endeavour. “The Jamaican Diaspora, which includes our people at home and abroad, shows that we are dynamic, creative and industrious,” she stated.
The Consul General thanked the city of Toronto for giving Jamaicans the opportunity to display their flag noting that, “it is a reflection and tribute to the hard working Jamaicans, who are daily making a sterling contribution to this multicultural city and helping to make it a better place.”
Jamaican Mary Anne Chambers, who is Minister of Children and Youth Services, said Jamaicans should never make excuses for “who they are or where they come from. My hope for Jamaicans is that they never forget their contribution to the world.
The Minister, who attended Immaculate Conception High School in Kingston and migrated to Canada in 1976, said that while Canada had been good for Jamaicans, Jamaicans have also been good for Canada.
“In education, in health, in the economy, Canada is strong in part, because of the contribution of Jamaicans. I am proud to call Jamaica home,” she stated.
In her remarks, JCA president Sandra Carnegie-Douglas pointed out that, “our nation continues to be fearless and determined in its efforts to realize its goal for economic, social and political development and prosperity that will underpin quality of life for its people.”
Member of Parliament Alan Tonks, recalled going to Jamaica in 1965 to teach at Clarendon College and being impressed with “the character and dignity of the people of Clarendon and Jamaica, and the motivation of the students of Clarendon College.”
The MP noted that Jamaica’s contribution to the world in the arts, culture and professions, are “totally out of proportion to its size.”
The Jamaican flag will fly at Toronto City Hall for one week.
Also in attendance at the flag-raising ceremony were: Michael Lashley, Consul General for Trinidad and Tobago; Conrad Gibbs, Consul General for Grenada; and Sandra Scott, Regional Director for the Jamaica Tourist Board.