WASHINGTON, DC – Five Jamaicans attended the White House Conference on the Americas on Monday, July 9 hosted by President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush in Washington D.C. They were Utealia Burrell of the Rural Family Support Organization, Yvonne Clarke of the Jamaica Red Cross, Omar Frith of the Stella Maris Foundation, Claudette Richardson-Pious of the Children First and Kim-Marie Spence of the Taking Responsibility Project.
Their visit was partially funded by the US Department of State through the Office of Public Affairs, US Embassy.
The U.S. Embassy in Nassau co-sponsored the Bahamian delegation that included, Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson, Director of the Crisis Center; Jeffrey Lloyd, Coordinator of the YEAST Program; Rick Lowe, President of The Nassau Institute; Mrs. Camille Barnett and Pastor Clint Kemp of the New Providence Community Center.
United States Ambassador Janet Sanderson heralded the participation of five prominent Haitians. At a dinner held in honor of the Haitian delegation, the Ambassador feted their individual accomplishments, and how collectively they were making a difference for Haiti. Foreign Minister Jean-Renald Clerismé was also in attendance to congratulate the delegation members.
The Haitian delegation included representatives from local NGOs and private sector institutions who have played a strong role in creating a better future for the country. Two of the participants, Dr. Marie-Marchelle Deschamps, Technical Director of GHESKIO and Mr. Garry Lejeune Delice, Executive Director of HELP, were also chosen to speak at the conference as panelists for sessions on healthcare and investing in education.
In addition, Dr. Deschamps was invited to represent Haiti and the healthcare field on the opening-session panel chaired by President Bush, who also gave the opening address.
The one-day conference brought together over 250 representatives from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, and volunteer groups from countries throughout the Western Hemisphere and the United States to discuss effective ways to deliver aid and build democratic institutions in the Americas.
Underscoring the high-level engagement on the Western Hemisphere, Secretary of State Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and others will also actively participate in the conference.
The themes of the conference include expanding economic opportunity, investing in education, strengthening healthcare, and building public-private partnerships. Additionally, the importance of democracy and good governance in achieving these goals will be underscored throughout the conference.
The conference provided President Bush and other senior United States government officials with an opportunity to discuss ongoing engagement with US neighbors to help the democratic governments of the region better meet their citizens’ basic needs of education, healthcare, and economic opportunity.
President George W. Bush said the United States is committed to advancing the cause of social justice in the Western Hemisphere and the conference will foster an exchange of ideas and best practices to address the region’s economic and social challenges.