Consul General in Toronto, George Ramocan, has praised Jamaican ex-soldiers living in Canada for their unwavering support for their homeland.
Speaking at the 18th Annual Banquet and Awards function of the Jamaica Ex-Soldiers Association (JESA) in Toronto, Canada, recently, Mr. Ramocan said the level of support given by JESA to Jamaica was impressive.
“The Government and people of Jamaica are deeply appreciative of the contribution you are making to the upliftment of the communities, both here in Toronto and in Jamaica. It is not because things are necessarily easy and it’s not because you necessarily have a lot of money, it’s because you have a great commitment to the cause,” said Mr. Ramocan.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Seth George Ramocan (second left) is joined by Commander of the Toronto Detachment Highway Safety Division of the Ontario Provincial Police, Jamaican-born Inspector Rohan Thompson (left), President of the Jamaica Ex-Soldiers Association (JESA), Anthony Britton (second right) and JESA Trustee, Jamaican-born Superintendent David Mitchell (right) from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, at the recentJESA Banquet in Toronto, Canada.
JESA supports the Curphey Home for retired soldiers in Jamaica, and donates scholarships to students of Jamaican heritage living in Canada.
The recipients of this year’s scholarships are 18-year-old Kaydian Winkley, a first year Criminal Justice student at Ryerson University, who has aspirations to be a lawyer, and 17-year-old Natasha Allen, a first year student at George Brown College, studying to be a Dental Hygienist, and who wants to start an organization to empower black women.
President of JESA, Anthony Britton, said his organization is committed to serving retired servicemen and women in Jamaica, as well as young people of Jamaican heritage in Canada. Earlier this year, the group teamed with JESA chapters in New York and Florida to visit the Curphey Home in Kingston and spend time with fellow retirees.
Keynote speaker, Commander of the Toronto Detachment Highway Safety Division of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Jamaican-born Inspector Rohan Thompson, commended the organization for its commitment to bettering the lives of youths through the scholarships.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Seth George Ramocan (left) and President of the Jamaica Ex-Soldiers Association (JESA), Anthony Britton (right) congratulate the two scholarship winners – 17 year old Natasha Allen (second left) and 18 year old Kaydian Winkle (second right), at the recent Banquet of the Jamaica Ex-Soldiers Association in Toronto, Canada.
Speaking on the topic of youth crime which has evolved “from fists to knives to guns,” the Inspector suggested that the solution must be a combination of preventive and reactive measures. He said no matter how much resource is thrown at prevention youth will fall through the cracks, therefore effective reactive measures are needed. Preventive steps include the scholarships offered by JESA and other groups, he said.
“We know that education and better opportunities are very strong protective factors against youth crime. I applaud your efforts and urge you to strengthen this programme,” he stated.
Inspector Thompson told the audience that, individually, each person can make the difference in a youth’s life, and urged them to speak to children who might be at risk.
“Many of our young people have no positive male influence in their lives and, to the extent that you are able to connect with them, you may help them to remain focused on a positive lifestyle. Many of them end up in gangs because they want to feel a sense of belonging. Are you able to show someone that you genuinely care for them?” asked Inspector Thompson.
The well attended event also featured entertainment by comedian Marcia Brown and singer Rupert Ritchie. Serving and non-serving members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), members of JESA’s New York and Florida chapters, ex-soldiers from Montreal, members of the Canadian Forces and representatives of several Jamaican community organizations also attended.