Jamaica’s Honorary Consul to Atlanta, Georgia, Vin Martin, is demitting office at the end of June, after serving in that position for 16 years.
Mr. Martin, in a letter to Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States (US), Professor Stephen Vasciannie, said his decision to step down at this time was based on family commitments.
He said it was an honour and privilege to have been “selected as one of a small cadre of individuals to have served among Jamaica’s elite honorary consular corps,” for which he was most thankful.
“To have served my country in this distinguished capacity will be one of the most memorable and satisfying experiences in my life. Indeed, to have been given the opportunity to provide this service, albeit in an honorary capacity, is one of the highest honours that could have been bestowed upon me,” Mr. Martin stated in his letter.
He credited Hon. Richard Bernal, who served as Ambassador to the US from 1991 to 2001, as being instrumental in his being appointed to this position.
Mr. Martin stated that when he was installed in 1997 as Jamaica’s third Honorary Consul in Atlanta, “I had no idea that I was embarking on long term service to my country and the Jamaican citizens in Atlanta.” He noted that over the 16 years, the Jamaican community has grown from an estimated eight to 10,000 to over 50,000.
In reflecting on his years as the leader of the Jamaican community in Atlanta,
Mr. Martin said: “I can think of no greater period than 2012 when, as a community, we organised over nine separate events to celebrate Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence”.
He noted that while there were many challenges, “to have helped to organise and execute these events was truly one of the most gratifying periods of my service.”
In reacting to the announcement, prominent Jamaican resident in Atlanta and Dean of Emory University’s School of Theology, The Rev. Dr. Noel Erskine, said that
Mr. Martin served the Jamaican community in Atlanta and the southern states of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, with distinction.
“He is a transformational leader, who always places the interests of Jamaica above political and factional ideologies. Jamaica gave Vin Martin to the United States and he gave to thousands of Jamaicans in the Diaspora, a sense of destiny and a stake in their homeland. His legacy will endure for many years,” Rev. Erskine said.
President of the Jamaica 50th Atlanta planning committee, Heather Potter, said that Mr. Martin leaves behind “big shoes to fill”.
“Mr. Martin always exemplified grace and wisdom and was a wonderful ambassador for Jamaica here in Georgia and the United States,” she stated.
As Jamaica’s lead representative in the Atlanta area Vin Martin meets regularly with both Jamaican and local government officials on matters pertaining to their interest. He acts as the liaison between the Jamaican Government and the State of Georgia, and is responsible for identifying trade opportunities between Georgian and Jamaican companies.
Mr. Martin is the Chair of the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee, and is a three-time recipient of the Phoenix Award. This is the highest civilian award given by the City of Atlanta. He is also recipient of the Key to the City of Montego Bay.
In 2006, Mr. Martin was appointed by Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue to serve as Board Member of Hemisphere, Inc.,which is a public-private partnership spearheading Georgia’s effort to position the state as the premier gateway for trade and investment.
The outgoing Honorary Consul has received several honours over the years from the Atlanta community as well as from Jamaica and the Consulate communities.
Contact: Derrick A. Scott