PORT ANTONIO – The Port Antonio Eagles Youth Marching Band was presented with approximately US$10,000 dollars worth of musical instruments, by U.S. Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater, on behalf of the United States Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Programme, at a ceremony at the Errol Flynn Marina on Friday March 18.
The equipment included antique trumpets, snare drums, professional marching bass drums, marching quads and tri-toms marching drums.
Under the U.S. Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Program, projects nominated for assistance must originate in the beneficiary country, in coordination with the United States Agency for International Development and other relevant United States government stakeholders.
Projects are reviewed by the United States Southern Command, and submitted to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) for approval.
Ambassador Bridgewater said she was happy to be associated with the occasion, and expressed confidence that the gifts will enhance the role of the Port Antonio Eagles Youth Marching Band in the community.
Declaring that she was herself once a member of a marching band, she said was fully aware of the satisfaction and enjoyment derived from such involvement, adding that playing and performing in a band allows for the proper direction of youthful energy.
She said she was pleased that the U.S. government was able to assist the marching band, and that the gesture was a practical example of the relationship between Jamaica and the United States.
Responding, Mayor of Port Antonio, Councillor Floyd Patterson, thanked the ambassador for making the presentation. He said the gesture was an indication of the strong faith the United States government has in the young people of Jamaica.
He encouraged the band to make the best use of the instruments, and exhorted them to continue to perform well and engage good discipline in their lives.
By ASTON BAILEY