JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Mrs. Simpson Miller will receive the award at the Gala Awards and presentation ceremony
  • This year’s conference, being held under the theme, ‘Partnership for Transformation’

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, will be honoured at the 36th Annual Conference and Awards Banquet of the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations (NAJASO), being held at Secrets Wild Orchid Hotel in Montego Bay, from July 18-20, 2013.

Mrs. Simpson Miller will receive the award on Saturday, July 20, at the Gala Awards and presentation ceremony, where she will be the keynote speaker.

“The Prime Minister is going to be getting the highest honour from NAJASO, because of her work in Jamaica,” said President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NAJASO, Roy Davidson.

According to vice president of NAJASO, Rick Nugent, Prime Minister Simpson Miller will receive the Lignum Vitae Award, in recognition of outstanding service to Jamaica.

“She was selected as (she is) the first female Prime Minister of Jamaica, which is an outstanding achievement. We know that it was not an easy task. She earned it because of her significant contribution to Jamaica. We want to let her know that we appreciate her,” Mr. Nugent said.

This year’s conference, being held under the theme, ‘Partnership for Transformation’, was officially opened on Thursday, July 17, by Governor General, His Excellency  the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.  

The seminar and symposium segment of the conference opens on Friday, July 19, with an Education Seminar. Speakers include Professor Gordon Shirley, Principal of the University of the West Indies; Professor Errol Morrison, President of the University of Technology (UTech); Dr. Joseph Whittaker, Head of Mathematics Department, Morgan State University in Maryland; and a representative of the Education Ministry.

An Immigration and National Security Symposium follows, with keynote speaker being Ambassador Curtis Ward. Also scheduled to address the group is Joan Pinnock, President of Jamaica Bar Association in New York and New Jersey.

Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Andrew Holness will address the conference, and according to the NAJASO president, “he is expected to outline his recommendations for helping to transform Jamaica into a world class entity.”

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, will give the keynote address at a Symposium on Tourism also scheduled for Friday. The session will be chaired by community tourism expert, Diana McIntyre Pike.

The Business Symposium will follow, with the focus on ways to boost investment in Jamaica. This session will engage “some of the ideas that came out of the (5th Biennial) Diaspora Conference and how the NAJASO organizations can be involved,” said Mr. Davidson.

On Saturday, Minister of Youth & Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, will give the keynote address at the Young Professionals Forum, to be chaired by Cassandra Chase, from the USA.  Also on the schedule for Saturday is Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who will give the keynote address at the Health Symposium chaired by Dr. Charles Anderson, of Buffalo, New York.

The medical seminar will also be attended by Dr. Richard Constable, chairman of the NAJASO Board; Dr. Channer Watson, Vice President of Jamaica and the Eastern Region; Dr Rudolph Willis, President of Help Jamaica; Dr Ray Fraser, Surgeon at the Annotto Bay Hospital; and Dr. Delroy Fray of Cornwall Region Hospital.

Speaking to JIS News about the Conference, Mr. Davidson informed that “delegates coming to our conference represent their organization. NAJASO is a member to member organisation.  Every single member of our organizations is invited to our conference and everyone else, not as delegates, but supporters.”

Each organization in the United States usually has between 50 and 100 members and a database of about 2,000 persons with whom they communicate.

NAJASO is an umbrella organization of over 500 member groups in the USA, Bermuda and Jamaica. Its main goal is to serve Jamaicans at home and Jamaican nationals in the USA in different capacities. NAJASO’s scope has expanded to include the greater Caribbean and Central America.

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