A Canadian Chief of Police has received a Community Service Award from the largest and oldest Jamaican community association in Canada.
Chief Armand LaBarge, of the York Region Police Department, was among eight individuals and one radio station to be presented with awards by the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA), at its recent Jamaica Independence Gala, which also celebrated the Association’s 48th Anniversary.
Lifetime Achievement Awardees, from left, Alton Telfer, Erma Collins and Madge Cameron.
Chief LaBarge received the Award for his support of the work of the JCA, as well as his commitment to Jamaica and Jamaicans.
Each year the Chief and officers from York Regional Police Force travel to Jamaica to support Father Richard Holung and the Missionaries of the Poor. He explained that they do this in memory of one of their young officers, Constable Davis Ahlowalia, who died in a traffic accident in 2007.
In trying to keep his memory alive, friends and colleagues donate their time to Jamaica, as it was one of his passions. At the time of his death he was raising funds for a Missionaries of the Poor orphanage. The police officers adopted the orphanage, and a basic school through Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) Canada.
Other awardees included Erma Collins, Alton Telfer and Madge Cameron who received Lifetime Awards; Neville Walters, received the 40-Year Pin; Dwight Gordon, the President’s Award; Sheila Raymond, was the Outstanding Volunteer; and Journalist Eddie Grant and CHRY Radio both received the Special Award of Recognition.
A section of the crowd which attended the double celebrations of Jamaica’s Independence and the Anniversary of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) in Toronto, Canada.
The event was celebrated under the theme, “I Believe in Jamaica.” President of the JCA, Audrey Campbell, said the theme held special meaning for the association.
“It was that belief 48 years ago that inspired 12 individuals to form this formidable organization. They believed that the values, culture and heritage of Jamaica must be promoted in our adopted home,” she said.
President of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) in Toronto, Canada, Audrey Campbell (right) with the recipient of the Community Service Award from the JCA, York Regional Chief of Police, Armand LaBarge (left).
Ms. Campbell stated that the JCA has made a tremendous impact on the communities it serves, noting that the organization, like Jamaica, has “an extremely bright future.
“I believe in Jamaica and I believe in the Jamaican Canadian Association,” she said.
Guest speaker was Leader of the Opposition and former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, who noted that Jamaica’s achievements have surpassed countries with a longer history of development and self-government.
“As I travel to the major centres of the world, I recognize that the word ‘Jamaica’ generates the most enthusiastic conversation among the peoples of the world. Jamaica is a concept, a dream, a commanding image,” said Mrs. Simpson Miller.
Calling on the audience to continue to believe in Jamaica, the leader of the opposition said she believes in Jamaica when she remembers her strong heritage growing up among the “humble, honest, honourable, wise and resourceful people” of rural Jamaica.
She thanked the members of the JCA for their contribution to Canada and Jamaica, and encouraged them to take their children to Jamaica and expose them to their roots.
In attendance was a wide cross-section of Jamaicans, including Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Seth George Ramocan, and heads of community organizations including PACE Canada’s Mary Anne Chambers and Jamaica Foundation of Hamilton’s Bill DeLisser.