ATLANTA -Former Jamaican Honorary Consul to Atlanta and prominent attorney Vin Martin, OD died this morning at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, one week shy of his 71st birthday.
The death was confirmed by Dr. Noel Erksine, a close family friend, who said Mr. Martin passed away at 12 noon today, after a long illness.
Vin Newton Martin was born in Jackson Town, Trelawny, Jamaica, on July 31, 1943. He was installed in the consular post in 1997 by then Governor General Sir Howard Cooke, and served until his retired in April 2013.
Mr. Erskine said “the entire Jamaican and Caribbean community in Atlanta is in shock and mourning at the passing of Mr. Martin.” He described Martin as an outstanding Jamaican who was extremely committed to serving Jamaica.
Learning of Mr. Martin’s passing, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Stephen Vasciannie hailed Vin Martin as a source of guidance and inspiration for many Jamaicans in the Diaspora, and especially those living in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ambassador Vasciannie continued: “Vin Martin, who was honoured with the national award of Order of Distinction, the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation, and the Governor General’s Achievement Award for Contribution to the Diaspora, served as Honorary Consul in Atlanta for 16 years. He demitted office in April 2013 as Honorary Consul, but he continued to give service.
“Mr. Martin played a key role in the life of the Jamaican Community: not only was he the driving force in the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities Health Mission, he was also instrumental in arranging special events such as Jamaican Independence activities. “Honorary Consul Martin was a morally upright, kind and thoughtful attorney-at-law whose love for Jamaica remained with him throughout his life.”
And, noting the pleasure he had in working with Mr. Martin, Jamaica’s Consul General in Miami, Mr. Franz Hall, described Martin as a true stalwart, who “served with distinction, selflessness and unmatched dedication as Jamaica’s Honorary Consul in Atlanta for over sixteen years.
“I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Martin during all my assignments in the United States of America. With each interaction, my respect for this giant of a man grew, for he was not only committed to representing Jamaica, but was also motivated to deepening the partnership between Atlanta and Jamaica, in a meaningful way.”
He explained that it was through Martin’s efforts that Atlanta and Montego Bay were twinned as sister cities, fostering closer commercial relationships as well as philanthropic activities between the two cities. “Perhaps his greatest contribution was in the area of service to the Jamaican Diaspora, as he exhibited an unparalleled drive in advocating for the interests of his fellow Jamaicans and an unshakeable passion for the development of Jamaica.
“He has made an indelible mark on the Jamaican Community in Atlanta and further afield in the Southern United States of America and, indeed, Jamaica. He will be truly missed by the persons whose lives he has touched.
“On behalf of the Consulate-General of Jamaica at Miami, I offer sincere and deepest condolences to his wife, family and friends for their loss, and extend our hearts, thoughts and prayers to them during this very difficult time.
Vin Martin leaves wife Hazel, son Cory and Kayon