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Jamaicans residing in Washington D.C. and the metro areas will have an opportunity to pay tribute to Jamaica’s first lady of culture the Hon. Lousie Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou) on Monday, July 31 when the Jamaican Embassy officially opens a condolence book.
Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, Professor Gordon Shirley will be the first to sign the book at 10:00am. In a statement Ambassador Shirley said, “All Jamaicans, irrespective of where they live, are saddened by the passing of a cherished member of the family, the Honourable Louise Bennett Coverley. Larger than life, side splittingly humorous, warm, embracing, wise and creative, Miss Lou as she was affectionately known was an outstanding daughter of Jamaica and was loved and respected by nationals all over the world, especially those residing here in the United States.”
The Ambassador pointed out that Miss Lou was a true leader who inspired the nation to take pride in its language and its culture. “She engendered passion in her countrymen and encouraged them to see their culture as a tool to be used in community development and nation building. She worked tirelessly to have us believe in ourselves and to take pride in our talents, skills and extraordinary abilities,” he said. Her work Ambassador Shirley continued, “as a folk philosopher, her efforts to develop an understanding of and appreciation for the Jamaican dialect, her contribution to the performing arts, to the development of the national pantomime movement in Jamaica, to the establishment of our regional festival, CARIFESTA, and her work to promote our culture internationally through her performances on every continent, have all served to mark her as truly exceptional”.
Ambassador Shirley stated that the cultural icon’s memory in the hearts and minds of all Jamaicans was secure. On behalf of the Jamaican Embassy in Washington and all Jamaicans living in the U.S.A. Professor Shirley extended heartfelt condolences to her relatives and friends.
The condolence book will remain open at the Embassy for two weeks from 10:00am to 5:00pm each day. Ambassadors representing Caribbean countries in Washington D.C, and representatives of Jamaican organizations have been invited to sign the condolence book.
The news of Miss Lou’s passing on July 26 at Grace Hospital in Toronto, Canada has been felt as a great loss by the Jamaican community in Washington and the metro area.