Ambassador Vasciannie says Jamaican Government committed to stamp out illegal activities

Washington, DC – Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Stephen Vasciannie, says the government of Jamaica is resolved to stamp out illegal activities in the country which include the illicit lotto scam which continues to affect both Jamaica and the United States. He says the government has implemented several measures to counter the lotto scam which primarily has its roots on the western end of the island.

This disclosure was made while addressing members of the Jamaica America Bar Association (JABA), northeast chapter and other professionals from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Philadelphia, at the third annual black tie and scholarship gala, held at the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel in Queens New York on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

Ambassador Vasciannie said that the rolling out of a five-point plan by the government is a comprehensive approach to combat these scams. The plan will include public education, increased enforcement, the enactment new laws to deter illegal activities, as well as the strengthening of judicial and procedural rules, along with the restitution of victims.

The Jamaican envoy pointed out that the government has launched a public awareness campaign on the dangers of scamming and is encouraging persons to report scamming activities in their local communities.

The Ambassador noted that the United States and Jamaican authorities were working closely raise public awareness. To this end, he urged members of the Diaspora to join in this effort as knowledge of these scams will alert individuals in the communities of Western Jamaica and beyond about the negative impact these scams have on the country.

Ambassador Vasciannie commended members of the JABA northeast chapter for providing legal services to many Jamaicans within the NY tri-state area, as well as for providing scholarships to Jamaican students and students of Jamaican parentage studying law at the Norman Manley Law School as well as institutions within the United States.

In a prepared message, Prime Minister, the most honorable Portia Simpson-Miller lauded members of the JABA northeast chapter for the outstanding legal assistance provided to members of the Jamaican Diaspora. “Let me commend the association for assisting with the professional development of Jamaican attorneys in the US and Jamaica while also giving back to the wider community by contributing its legal services to persons unable to afford such services”, she said.

Prime Minister Simpson-Miller said that the patriotism and dedication of this association is evident as through your work, members have demonstrated that they are not only concerned with their own achievements and successes, but are fully committed to the building of their homeland and improving the lives of our people. She encouraged members of the Diaspora to continue to work together with the government to create a Jamaica which is a desired place to work, live, raise families and do business.

The Prime Minister pointed out that after 50 years as an independent nation, Jamaica stands at a crucial juncture on the journey to create that brighter and more prosperous future for its people. “While the government is fully committed to taking the measures required for this sustained development and long-term prosperity of the nation, as we go further, there is an even greater need for partnership, renewed commitment and support from all Jamaicans, sectors and organizations, both at home and in the Diaspora”, she said.

In her remarks, the President of the JABA northeast chapter, Joan Pinnock, said that through seminars and legal advice, the organization continues to address issues that are unique to our nationals. She noted that in 2010, the organization by providing legal services, prevented several Jamaicans from being deported and was successful in returning one Jamaica national to the US after he was deported.

Funds raised from the gala will benefit students attending law schools in Jamaica and the US as well as go towards the establishment of the Jamaica Legal Defense Fund (JLDF) which will help overseas nationals in need of legal representation.

The recipient of the 2013 Magistrate award was presented to a Jamaican Judge Stephen Drummond who sits on the bench in Freeport, Connecticut, while the Barrister Award was presented to another Jamaican, Attorney Wayne Bennett who practices in Philadelphia.

The recipient of the Jamaican Community Award went to the chairman of the Independence Celebration Foundation, Ms. Paulette Willoughby while Shantel Smart who attends Quinnipiac University of Law, Kellsie Barton from New York University School of Law and Trichana Gray from the Norman Manley Law School were the three recipients of the 2013 JMBA education scholarship awards.

Among those in attendance at the gala were Jamaica’s Consul General to New York, Mr. Herman Lamont, Former New York Councilwoman Euna Clarke, Founder of the JABA Miami chapter, Don James and Jamaica’s Honorary Consul to Pennsylvania, Dr. Alston Meade.

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