JIS News

Jamaicans in the Diaspora are being encouraged to become more actively engaged in transforming the country.
“If you believe in Jamaica, give yourself to the process of national building in Jamaica and help the nation pull through to her capability, as belief demands action,” urged Pastor of the Fellowship Tabernacle in Kingston, Rev. Dr. Merrick ‘Al’ Miller.
He was addressing more than 1,300 Jamaicans at the annual ecumenical service to celebrate the island’s 47th anniversary of Independence held on August 2 at the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Using the theme of Independence, ‘I Believe in Jamaica’, Rev. Miller, who was the guest preacher at the church service, said that achieving success in nation-building would depend on Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora.
“We cannot build a new Jamaica or fulfill the dreams of our founding fathers without the Diaspora,” he stated.
Consul General to Miami, Sandra Grant Griffiths, in her remarks, commended the large turnout of nationals at the event, noting that the outpouring of spirit was testament of the love Jamaicans have for the country.
Calling for renewed faith in Jamaica, the Consul General said that nationals at home and in the Diaspora “must unite in confidence, as we continue to achieve with the strength and maturity of a great nation”.
Consul, Desreine Taylor, read the Prime Minister’s Independence message, in which he urged Jamaicans to recommit to fulfilling the dream and hopes of Independence, reminding that “we can overcome,” despite the setbacks and harshness of the times.
He also praised Jamaicans in the Diaspora for their continued commitment to the island’s economic progress, while enhancing development in the communities in which they reside.
The service was highlighted by an entertaining musical package, featuring performances from the Sierra Norwood Church Children’s Choir, Jamaica Folk Revue and the 100-voice strong Caribbean Chorale, under the direction of Steve Higgins, formerly of the Jamaica Folk Singers. A special offering was made for HIV/AIDS charities in Jamaica and the United States.
A moment of silence was observed in honour of the late Lady Gladys Bustamante, widow of Jamaica’s first Prime Minister and National Hero, Sir Alexander Bustamante. Following the service of thanksgiving, a condolence book in honour of Lady Bustamante was opened to the public.
The celebrations continued at a community reception and fellowship, hosted by the staff of the Consulate.

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