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Jamaicans praised for maturity and progress throughout Independence

FT. LAUDERDALE – Hundreds of Jamaicans in South Florida turned out to the annual Ecumenical Service in celebration of the nation’s 45th anniversary of Independence at the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, last Sunday (July 29).

Chief celebrant was the Right Rev. Robert Thompson, Suffragan Bishop of Kingston, who told his congregation that after 45 years of Independence, the level of maturity and the continued struggle demonstrated by Jamaicans in the Diaspora and at home were indicative of the love for our country, and ultimately to achieve the best for its people.

He reminded all Jamaicans that even after Emancipation and Independence the task for nation building was still great, and urged his audience to remain strong and united in the continued efforts for advancement. He also spoke of the common theme enshrined in our Motto, and also reminded his congregants to remain committed, spiritually, as a nation in order to accomplish the task ahead.

Preaching the theme of unity and love in defining ourselves as one, Bishop Thompson used excerpts from the Old Testament chapter of Nehemiah to illustrate and reiterate our connectedness throughout the Diaspora as well as with our brothers and sisters on the island.

As communities in the Diaspora continued to work for the good of their island home, Bishop Thompson assured his audience that Jamaicans at home were always appreciative of the ongoing prayers and goodwill in contribution to the development of that economy.

Consul General Ricardo Allicock in acknowledging the nation’s celebration of the 45 years of Independence simultaneously spoke of the observation of the 169th anniversary of Emancipation as well as the 200th commemoration of Britain’s abolition of the slave trade.

He said that as Jamaica progressed in maturity to the point of political and national independence, throughout its national development, Jamaicans have remained spiritual in faith, “clinging to God, and acknowledging his grace.”

As the Consul General praised the achievements of the many Jamaicans in varied interests in the areas of education, academia, public service, sports, diplomatic affairs and other endeavours, he singled out the recent accomplishment of 23 year old, Captain Barrington Irving, Jr., the Jamaican aviator, who recently became the youngest and first person of African descent to successfully circumnavigate the globe solo, in a single engine Cessna aircraft.

In congratulating Captain Irving, Mr. Allicock said that his recent achievement is testament to the tremendous things we can accomplish as a nation of gifted people.

He encouraged nationals to continue loving and representing Jamaica positively, as well as in prayer, “so that our earnest prayers can bring all the peace, unity, justice and prosperity we desire for our nation.”

The congregation of almost 1,000 nationals and friends enjoyed a selection of performances from the Jamaica Independence Mass Choir, the Jamaica Folk Revue, the Sierra Norwood Calvary children’s Choir as well as a dance tribute by Lois Requa-Dunn, formerly of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), accompanied by her daughter, Sasha Dunn.

The service was officiated by the Reverend Winston Wright of the Grace Episcopal Church in West Palm Beach.

Proceeds of collection from the service will go towards the Swift Purscell Boys’ Home in St. Mary.

Following the service, persons fellowshipped at a Community Reception hosted by the staff of the Jamaica Consulate in Miami.

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