JIS News

Jamaica’s newly appointed Consul General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner, has expressed admiration at the work being done by the St. Thomas Healthcare Organization to assist persons in the parish.
Speaking at her first official engagement since assuming office last week, Mrs. Bonner said the organization should be commended for its work in assisting the eye-care needs of the residents of the parish of St. Thomas.
“I laud the work of Chairman, Dan Williamson, the executive, members and volunteers of the organization. Your team deserves our highest praise and respect for their dedication and sacrifices,” the Consul General said, at the 14th Annual Pre-Easter Brunch of the group held on April 9 in Toronto, Canada.
“I am very aware of the social situation and the health needs of our people and I am heartened by the concerns of our people overseas, your responsiveness to needs and your search for solutions,” she said.
The 21 year-old organization, made up mostly of former residents of St. Thomas, now living in Canada, has been sponsoring medical visits since 1999 to the eye-care clinic at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Morant Bay.
From February 20 to 24, the group conducted its latest medical visit and President, Andrea Wilkie, said this was the most successful one to date, with more than 300 residents getting their eyes tested and being fitted with eyeglasses.
“This organization was born out of the need to give back to our homeland. Since we’ve been doing these clinics, we have made a difference in the lives of 1,500 residents of St. Thomas,” said Mrs. Wilkie.The two Canadian eye-care specialists who travelled to Jamaica with the organization – optometrist Dr. Samuel Hoh and optician German Cuartas – received commendations from all.
They expressed satisfaction in helping people in need. “When we give, we help to transform the lives of others,” said Dr. Hoh, who was born in the Philippines before migrating to Canada.
During the visit, the group honoured local community members who have assisted them over the years and unveiled a plaque in memory of the late Dr. J. George Sewell, the Jamaican-born Canadian optometrist who assisted the group in their outreach programmes from 1999 to 2002.