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Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Professor Gordon Shirley has reminded Jamaicans living in the United States that, “the freedom of Independence we celebrate, was bought with the blood, sweat and tears of our fore-parents”.
“We should contemplate, as in 1962, this journey of self determination on which we have embarked, and our fore-parents resolve to make Jamaica a place where every person can attain his full potential,” he said.
The Ambassador was bringing greetings at the Jamaican Nationals Association’s Independence Evening of Elegance, held at the Renaissance Hotel, downtown Washington, D.C., on Saturday, August 5.
“Independence, perhaps more-so than on any other occasion, is a time for reflection on where we are, where we have been and where we are going. Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora can be proud of their achievements. We have proven time and time again that given the right conditions, we are an unstoppable force. This unique quality was aptly demonstrated at the recently held Diaspora Conference in Kingston, where over 500 delegates resolved to harness the power and prestige of Jamaicans in the Diaspora for the betterment of Jamaica,” the Ambassador said.
Professor Shirley pointed out that there were many positive developments of the past year, such as the smooth transition at the highest level of government, the exploits of athletes Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell and others.
“As Jamaicans, we should however, be mindful of the many challenges which have the potential to derail our efforts at enhancing the socio-economic well-being of our people, and as such should actively seek appropriate solutions,” he said.
Ambassador Shirley noted that Jamaicans in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and indeed the entire United States, at this point in time, have been given a unique opportunity to contribute their expertise and assets to the development of the country. “This is even now more crucial as we witness the effects of globalization on our developmental aspirations. More and more of our access to preferential markets is being eroded and in time will become but a distant memory,” he added.
The Ambassador explained that the government has undertaken to work even more closely with Jamaicans in the Diaspora to ensure that they are given the necessary opportunities to contribute their knowledge and skills towards the development of the country.
The establishment of the Diaspora Foundation as well as the Government’s intention to establish a Joint Select Committee of Parliament to address issues related to the Diaspora, are but two of the initiatives that will serve to better co-ordinate and implement the efforts of those willing to serve.
In her remarks, President of the Jamaican Nationals Association, Moreen Wallace, said that, “as we celebrate over 40 years of Jamaica’s Independence, it is timely for us to stop and reflect on those qualities we possess as people of Jamaican Heritage.
We must not only reflect on them, but continue to build on those qualities to help us promote Independence and self-sufficiency, while preserving our Jamaican culture and heritage”.
The Marcus Garvey Award was presented to Dr. Jacqueline A. Mothersille-Payne, a lecturer at Bowie State University.
Among the special guests were Miss Jamaica World 2005, Terri-Karelle Griffiths and Beverly Anderson-Manley.