National Council of Jamaicans to Choose New President this Weekend


The National Council of Jamaicans and Supportive Organizations in Canada (NCJSOC) will be choosing a new president at its 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM) set for May 22 in Toronto, Canada.
The organization, an umbrella group for approximately 35 Jamaican associations across Canada, is led by Jamaican-born Olive Steele whose second term as President is coming to an end. A President can sit for only two terms, according to the National Council’s Constitution.
The AGM will take place at the Jamaican Canadian Centre, home of the largest Jamaican organization in Toronto. Other positions which will be voted on are for the Treasurer and Public Relations Officer.
Speaking to JIS News recently, Mrs. Steele, who was born in May Pen, Clarendon expressed satisfaction with her tenure as President and the future direction of the organization.
“I have to say, being a two-term President has been personally rewarding and exhilarating. I am proud of my legacy at NCJSOC and I am certainly looking forward to sitting in the Past President’s chair.”
The National Council was formed in 1987 and its primary purpose is to “help identify and respond to the needs of Jamaican/Canadians and other racial minorities, and act as a coordinating and resource facilitator on public policy and other matters affecting its membership.”
Several years ago the organization decided to focus on youth-related issues and organized a series of conferences and workshops aimed at expanding the civic participation of young people in the society.
In 2004, the Department of Canadian Heritage which is responsible for national policies and programmes that promote Canadian content, announced that it would give the organization almost $500,000 over three years, to fund its Youth Development and Organizational Capacity Project, which is slated to end in 2007.
The injection of funds allowed the organization to reach out and involve more young people in their plans. In May last year, the National Council organized a “train-the-trainer” workshop involving youth from all across Canada, focusing on civic participation and leadership. Participants came from the cities in which member organizations of NCJSOC are located. These include Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Kitchener, Mississauga, Montreal, Oshawa, Regina, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg.
The “trainers” then took their knowledge back to their hometowns and have been organizing workshops for other young people, empowering them to be agents of change.
On Saturday, May 21, the organization will also hold its Annual Banquet at the Delta Airport West Hotel in Toronto. The guest speaker will be Canadian Senator Donald Oliver, from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The NCJSOC will be handing out several awards at that event including the President’s Award, which will go to Dr. Frederick Pryce, the organization’s current treasurer. Meanwhile, the Community Award will be presented to Miah Bailey, a dedicated community leader and past president of the organization, and the Youth Award will be presented to Tamisha Parris, the current national youth representative.

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