MIAMI – When the four reigning ambassadors of the 20th annual Miss Jamaica Florida Pageant 2009 arrive in Jamaica on Wednesday (Apr. 21), this will be the first time Miss Tracey Henry visits the island since she was four years old.
Twenty-two year old, Miss Henry, who wears the crown of Miss Jamaica Florida 2009 is looking forward to her return visit. Born in New York, of Jamaican parentage, Miss Henry said that she first visited at age four for the burial of her great-grandmother. “Now I am older I would like to be a part of Jamaica,” she declared.
The annual four day prize-winning visit to Jamaica is the culmination of the schedule of activities for the ambassadors before the annual coronation scheduled this year, on June 27th at the Coral Springs Center for the Performing Arts in South Florida. The three ambassadors joining her on tour include Courtney Howe, Miss Teen Jamaica Florida; Diana Tater-Bell, Junior Miss Jamaica Florida and Deianeira Hoffenden, Little Miss Jamaica Florida.
On arrival, the first stop for the ambassadors will be a ‘Welcome Stop’ at the Morgan’s Harbour Hotel, as they will begin “enjoying what Jamaica has to offer,” remarked Ms. Callisha Bryan, Sales Manager at the hotel. They will then continue on a tour of historic Port Royal.
For some of the ambassadors, this is their first visit to the island as second and third generations of Jamaican descent. Like Ambassador Henry expressed “I am looking forward to learning more about Jamaica during this visit.” Over the years, the ambassadors have enjoyed a schedule of activities which take them on memorable and entertaining tours and visits with dignitaries, government officials and to historic landmarks across the island.
This year, they being with a courtesy calls on Lady Patricia Allen, the wife of the Governor General, as well as officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. They will also visit some of the nation’s landmarks throughout the Corporate Area and across the island, and also share the media spotlight as they will do interviews at some of the island’s media houses.
Residents at the National Children’s Home and patients at the Bustamante Children’s Hospital will, in turn, be guests of the ambassadors when they visit those institutions. As is customary, the ambassadors will read stories, make presentation of gifts, and share childhood experiences with their peers in lesser fortunate circumstances. Both institutions are adopted projects of the Partners for Youth Foundation (PFY), the organizing body of the Miss Jamaica Florida Pageant.
Their whirlwind tour will conclude with visits to several tourist attractions on the North Coast. These include lunch by the staff of the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resorts in Ocho Rios as well as guests of Mystic Mountain Experience, the Outameni Experience in Trelawny, the Rose Hall Great House, among others. Expressing enthusiasm about her visit, Miss Henry said that she was excited about the visit as she wanted to experience the aspects of the island’s rich culture and heritage, “I am really looking forward to enjoying the island paradise.”
Over the years, the annual prize winning trip has been coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Air Jamaica Limited and the offices of the Consulate General of Jamaica and the Jamaica Information Service in Miami.
The pageant was started by the late Anthony Baker, founder of the Anthony Baker, Incorporated, and has since been carried on by his widow, through the Partners for Youth Foundation, a Florida based non profit organization established to carry on the untiring efforts of her husband. Mr. Baker was passionate in his mission to assist in the development of young women in our Diasporic communities.
Since his death in 1998, the organization has continued his passion and commitment to prepare young women for excellence, by placing emphasis on personal development through mentorship projects, community involvement and volunteerism, and scholarship programmes. His mission was to contribute to their welfare, molding them into positive and outstanding leadership roles in the communities. Today, hundreds of young women have passed through the rigors of grooming and personal development which has prepared them in part for greater accomplishments.
The ambassadors will be accompanied by their chaperones, Mrs. Marcia Rigg-Baker, Mrs. June Minto and Ms. LeToya Stairs, directors of the PFY. They return to Florida on Sunday (April 25).