WASHINGTON — Members of the Jamaican community, State and local government officials in the city of Philadelphia, turned out to honour Jamaica's outgoing Honorary Consul in Pennsylvania, Dr. Alston B. Meade on August 6, in downtown Philadelphia.
The ceremony formed part of Team Jamaica Bickle's Philadelphia chapter Independence Gala, held to celebrate Jamaica's 49th year of independence.
In her tribute, Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks lauded Dr. Meade for having represented Jamaica with distinction in his role as Honorary Consul to Pennsylvania.
She commended him for spearheading numerous trade missions; strengthening the relationship which now exists between Jamaica and Philadelphia; representing his country on several State and local Boards in Philadelphia; and assisting with immigration matters.
The Ambassador praised Dr. Meade for displaying a lifetime passion for social activism and for playing a central role in founding and leading several organisations, including the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organisations (NAJASO).
“The government and people of Jamaica are indebted to you, Dr. Meade, for the outstanding role you have played and for your exemplary service,” said Ambassador Marks.
Meanwhile, President and founder of Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB), Erwin Claire described Dr. Meade as a man who has served Jamaica in several capacities, including his role as a former President of the Jamaica Progressive League of the Philadelphia chapter.
Mr. Claire noted that Dr. Meade has dedicated his time to several organisations on a voluntary basis, and is “a true patriot from Linstead, St. Catherine."
“As we celebrate this momentous occasion of Jamaica's 49th year of Independence, let us not forget the role played by those who participated in the genesis and the march towards self rule and self government for Jamaica,” said Mr. Claire.
In his response, Dr. Meade said it is a great honour to serve his country, and that he believes strongly in serving and giving back.
Dr. Meade urged the audience to recommit themselves to their country and to find ways to give back and serve, even as “we celebrate these 49 years of independence."
He said he is delighted to have played a role in the growth of trade between Jamaica and the city of Philadelphia, as well as promoting Jamaica, its culture and spearheading various educational endeavours.
Dr. Meade was appointed Honorary Consul to Pennsylvania in 2002, and will demit office at the end of this year.
By DERRICK SCOTT, JIS Reporter