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JIS News

Jamaican nationals were able to utilise the services of several domestic agencies at a Community Outreach Day, staged last Saturday (September 25) by the Consulate General in Miami and partnering agencies, at the University Area Community Development Center, Tampa, Florida.
Although the event was marred by sporadic rainfall, scores of Jamaicans were able to access services such passport applications, processed by representatives of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), and birth, death and marriage certificates courtesy of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD).
Speaking with JIS News, PICA’s Acting Operations Manager, Citizenship Services, Desmond Graham, explained that he was able to respond to several inquiries on passport and citizenship applications, and was satisfied with what was accomplished throughout the day.
“The experience was a great one, and the personal interaction, through our one-on-one contact with the clients, made it easier to understand their needs,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness, said that the partnership, with the Jamaican Consulate General to reach out the Diaspora was a continuation of RGD’s own outreach activities.
A team of resource persons from other agencies were also on hand to offer direct client services. These included: National Land Agency (NLA); Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB); Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS); Jamaica National (JN) Money Transfer; Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS); Grace Kennedy Remittance Services/Western Union (GKRS/WU); and the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
Elloreece Burrell, a retired educator, who is also active in Diaspora affairs in the Jamaican community in North West Florida, expressed gratitude for the services, as she was able to make personal inquiries on three areas of interest – property concerns, obtaining vital family records and, particularly, tourism development.
She said that this kind of service was greatly needed in the community and suggested repeat events.
Freda Sangster-Marks, a Jamaican national residing in New Port Richey, was pleased with the processing of her applications for a new birth certificate and passport renewal. She praised the “efficient service and excellent information”.
“I was pleasantly surprised at the ease and convenience in applying for a new birth certificate,” Rosemary Borel-Hall remarked about the service from the RGD.
Speaking to JIS News, Jamaica’s Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths, said that the Outreach Programme was part of the Consulate’s thrust to interact with the Jamaican communities, and to ensure that the services of the Consulate were directly available to them.
The programmes have extended across five cities of the southern United States, affecting Jamaicans living in Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill and West Palm Beach, Orlando, Atlanta and Houston. Survey sheets gathered at each event indicated support for continuation of the effort.
“Resources permitting, the Consulate is certainly committed to continue the Outreach Programme on a quarterly schedule with partners, and delivering critical services and information updates on the Government’s policies and programmes,” the Consul said.