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Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson-Miller has invited Jamaicans abroad to share in her vision for the creation of a new Jamaica that encouraged community involvement and provided for a deepening of democracy.
According to Minister Simpson-Miller, “the foundation of my vision for the (further) development of the country is based on the deepening of democracy, in mobilizing all citizens both at home and abroad to become involved. They must become actively and passionately engaged in the decisions, which affect their daily lives”.
The Local Government Minister, who was delivering the keynote address at the 21st anniversary awards banquet of the Jamaica National Movement (JNM) on June 18 at Dante Caterers in Queens, New York, said that her vision would encourage community participation, empowerment, removal of class and privilege as determinants of success and create “a nation where democracy is deepened way beyond the five seconds at a polling booth every five years and a Jamaica characterized by good governance.”
She lauded the JNM for 21 years of steadfast service to community and country through scholarships and other forms of tangible help. She noted that it was very significant that she was addressing the organization during the period marking the one-year anniversary of the establishment of the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation.
In his remarks, Consul General to New York, Dr. Basil K. Bryan, expressed confidence that the more than two million Jamaicans in the Diaspora would come together to ensure that Jamaica never failed and that the country’s development goals remained on track.
Against the backdrop of recent achievements, Dr. Bryan noted that, “no other country the size of Jamaica has accomplished so much”. He encouraged Jamaicans everywhere to continue to be proud.
During the function, JNM president Horace Thomas, presented Mrs. Simpson Miller with the Manley/Patterson Leadership Award for 31 years of public and political service.
She also received a proclamation from the New York City (NYC) Council; US Congressman Major Owens; and citations from State Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs; State Senator John Sampson; Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; and NYC Councilman David Yasky.
Una S.T. Clarke, former NYC Councilwoman, was presented with the Marcus Garvey Award for Excellence while Jamaican born Brooklyn businessman Lloyd Coy (Auto Repairs), received the Michael Manley Award for Self Reliance.
The JNM Distinguish Service Award was presented to veteran members Veta Clarke, Merlene Henry and Lucille Vernon.