Jamaicans in South Florida honored

MIAMI – Thirteen Jamaican nationals were honored on Sunday (Mar. 30) by the Jamaica Consulate in Miami for their pioneering and preservation of Jamaican culture, promotion of Jamaica’s development and to those who enjoyed extraordinary achievement in the year 2007.

The recipients were presented with plaques of commendation from the Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding and Consul General Ricardo Allicock during the ceremony at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Coconut Grove.

Honorees included Dr. Ivy Claudette Armstrong, a published poet, Mayor Samuel Brown of Lauderdale Lakes, Mrs. Elloreece B. Burrell, community worker in the Tampa area, Messrs. Glenn Chin, NASA Mission Manager, Don Daly, media specialist, Mrs. Beverly Ford, former Honorary Consul of Houston, Texas, Captain Barrington Irving, Jr., youngest and first person of African-American descent to circumnavigate the world solo by aircraft, the Rev. Horace Ward of Holy Family Episcopal Church in North Miami, Mrs. Joyce Wright, founder of the Jamaica Nurses Association of Florida, educators, Dr. Winston Whyte and Dr. Karl S. Wright and cultural forerunners Michael and Jackie Shaw of Sunshine Theatre Company.

Guest speaker, Prime Minister Golding, praised the honorees as they demonstrated creativity, talent, dedication and commitment, traits he described as examples of that ‘true Jamaican spirit.’ “When you do well, we feel good,” he lauded.

The community service awards ceremony was part of the Prime Minister’s itinerary as he concluded a three-day visit to the South Florida Diaspora.
He expressed appreciation to the Diaspora for its ongoing commitment and contributions to Jamaica’s economic development, indicating that remittances to the island totaled over $2 billion (US) last year.

Citing other effective ways to utilize the skills and resources of its Diaspora, Prime Minister Golding challenged his audience to join with the government in working together in achieving common goals for the country’s economic development.
As the new thrust of the Government was investment and trade, Mr. Golding said that it was being proposed to look to the Diaspora to assist in the areas focused for development. For Jamaicans abroad, he said that it would not only be a business investment, but a cultural one as well.

This, he explained was two-fold as they had acquired the expertise abroad and already understood the Jamaican culture.
“The Diaspora is too powerful not to utilize its skills and resources at home,” he said to loud and thunderous applauses.

Referring to Jamaica’s position in the New World Order, and the nation’s development, Mr. Golding said that in spite of the challenges the nation had much ‘catching up’ to do, implying that we had the capacity to likewise. He implored that as a nation we had to rid ourselves of the mendicant attitude as Jamaica had begun to make considerable strides in positioning itself for growth.

Consul General Ricardo Allicock in his welcome address also echoed sentiments to the honorees and the Diaspora at large for the outstanding contribution to their homeland and their adopted communities through public service, private enterprises and outreach programs through churches and charitable organizations.

Mr. Allicock reiterated to his audience that their charitable endeavor, extraordinary achievements and personal motivation have helped to inspire and transform Jamaica at home and abroad.

He saluted other leaders in the Jamaican community who were present in the audience including the newly appointed Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Anthony Johnson and his wife, Pam and Ambassador Dudley Thompson and his wife, Cecile.

Other officials participating were the newly appointed Consul General to New York, Mrs. Carol Brown-Metzger, and Mr. Omari Fullerton, honorary Consul in Houston, Texas, and also former Consul General to New York, Dr. Basil Bryan, and his wife, Jean.

Entertainment was provided by the Tallawah Mento Band, the Sierra Norwood Calvary Baptist Church Children’s Choir and violinist Miss Nadje Leslie.

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