JIS News

WASHINGTON — Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, has called on Jamaicans at home and abroad to unite in building a more cohesive, inclusive, and just society. 

“It is our mandate as citizens,” Sir Patrick told the more than 400 Jamaicans and friends of the island gathered at Howard University's Dunbarton Chapel on Sunday August 7 for the annual Independence service of thanksgiving.

Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, welcomed the Governor-General on his first visit with the Jamaican Diaspora in the US capital since he assumed office.

Sir Patrick, who was accompanied by Lady Allen, spoke of the need “to build on the legacy” of the pioneers, heroes, and early nation-builders, who did not despair in the face of great adversity.

He said the service of all Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora remains in high demand to “fix what is wrong with Jamaica” and ensure that in keeping with the Independence theme, “the journey continues”.

He stated that like the courageous ancestors, “we must also believe in the potential for Jamaica to succeed,” and become “the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business."

Ambassador Marks hailed the Jamaicans from Baltimore, Virgina and the Washington DC, who came out for the service of praise and worship, as well as representatives of the United States (US) Congress, and members of the diplomatic corps in Washington.

She also read the Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding’s Independence message, in which he paid tribute to the Jamaican Diaspora and called on nationals to use the Independence period to reflect on the country’s achievements and resolve to do better.

“Let us remind ourselves that 50 years from now another generation will pause to celebrate that same independence.  Most of us will no longer be around but all of us must do all that we can now to ensure that they will have much to celebrate.  That is our duty; that must be our commitment,” he stated.

General Secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU) Rev. Karl B. Johnson, who delivered the sermon, said God must be returned to His rightful place in the society. He said that the forebears recognised the hand of God in the nation’s history, from Emancipation through to Independence.

“Let us thank Him for the blessings that abound in this country, the blessings that we see in our people, in our natural resources, in our freedom, in our music and our culture,” said Rev. Johnson.

Sir Patrick Allen read the first lesson, while the second lesson was read by Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis, Jacinth Henry-Martin. The third and fourth lessons were read by Tristan Gabay and immediate past president of the Jamaica Nationals Association, Dr. Jacqueline Payne-Borden, respectively. 

The congregation enjoyed musical selections by soloist, Sonia Headlam and the group ‘Performing Artists Under The Lord,' directed by Linda Edge Gatling.

Officiating ministers were Dean of Howard University's School of Divinity, Jamaican-born Dr. Bertram L. Melbourne; and Rev. Sylvia McDonald Kaufman. Proceeds from the service will go towards the Jamaica Christian Boys’ Home; Jamaica AIDS Support Foundation; and the St. Elizabeth Infirmary.

Following the church service Ambassador Marks hosted a reception in the chapel's fellowship hall where His Excellency and Lady Allen met with members of the Jamaican Diaspora and friends of the island. 

She also hosted a dinner in the Governor-General's honour at her official residence later that evening and among the guests were former US Secretary of State and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell and Mrs. Alma Powell.



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