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Prime Minister Touts “Remarkable Achievements” of Independent Jamaica

Washington, D.C. –  Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness touted the remarkable achievements Jamaica recorded over its sixty-one years as a “united independent nation,” telling his compatriots in the Washington DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) region that over its 61-year history, independent Jamaica had made remarkable achievements.

Ambassador Marks - Jamaica Remarkable Achievements
Her Excellency Ambassador Audrey P. Marks delivers Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ special Jamaica 61st Independence Day message to the diaspora members in the Washington DC-Maryland-Virginia region. (Derrick A. Scott)

“As we embark on the next phase of our journey, let us remember the values that have defined us as a great nation: resilience, unity, and love for one another,” the Prime Minister urged in a special message for the Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica gathered Sunday, July 30, at the Service of Thanksgiving for the country’s 61st Anniversary of Independence and 185 Years of Emancipation.

“We have charted a course of progress and prosperity that has left an indelible mark on our society at home,” he said, as he also saluted the diaspora’s role in nation-building. “It is through partnerships with our diaspora that we build even greater ties. We celebrate our past and present achievements and envision a brighter future for all Jamaicans.”

Ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Audrey P. Marks read the Prime Minister’s special message for the more than 500 attendees in person, after her own welcome remarks and greetings. Held at Sligo Seventh Day Adventist Church in Takoma Park, Maryland, on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., the service was also livestreamed and featured the inaugural Jamaica Diaspora DMV Awards, recognizing the Jamaica-born retired Maryland senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam and Institute of Caribbean Studies founder and president Dr. Claire A. Nelson.

“The Embassy in Washington has been a pillar of support, advocating and representing our Jamaican diaspora in the United States,” said Prime Minister Holness in his message. “Our embassy promotes strong ties and ensures that the Jamaican spirit thrives beyond our shores. The team in Washington is committed to serving our diaspora with excellence.”

Infrastructural Developments

Turning to the pursuit of infrastructural development, the Prime Minister elaborated: “My administration recognizes that strategic and robust development of infrastructure is vital for economic growth, social progress, and improved quality of life for all Jamaicans.” He went on to state that “Our infrastructure projects have extended across the length and breadth of our beautiful island, connecting communities, stimulating economic activity, enhancing accessibility, and improving lives and convenience.”

Mr. Holness cited the completion of the North-South Highway, “which has significantly reduced travel times and facilitated trade,” and the ongoing development of the Montego Bay Perimeter Road to ease congestion and improve connectivity in the tourism capital, among other things. “This government has fostered an environment conducive to growth and progress,” the Prime Minister affirmed. “We recognized that safe and affordable housing is not just a fundamental right but a cornerstone of social stability and national prosperity.

“Indeed, Jamaica’s economic stability and resilience are the result of the diligent efforts of this administration and the dedication of our people. The foundation laid by our predecessors allowed us to continue on a path of fiscal discipline, leading to a stable Jamaican dollar and a reduced debt-to-GDP ratio. We have actively pursued strategic partnerships and implemented bold policies that have attracted investments, fostered entrepreneurship, and created jobs.”

Jamaica remarkable achievements
Her Excellency Ambassador Audrey P. Marks shares thoughts with guest preacher Rev. Astor Carlysle, pastor of Webster Memorial Church of Kingston, after service of thanksgiving Sunday, July 30, 2023, in Takoma Park, Maryland. (Derrick A Scott photo)

Guest preacher Rev. Astor Carlysle, senior pastor of Webster Memorial Church in Kingston, delivered a compelling charge in his sermon, calling on Jamaicans in the diaspora to consider their own role in making a difference for their country. Moderating Sunday’s programme, which was punctuated with musical selections and scripture readings, was Rev. Dr. Bertram L. Melbourne. He was accompanied by other officiating ministers – Rev. Dr. Kortright Davis, Rev. Sylvia McDonald Kaufman, Bishop Stanley Murray, and Rev. Eron Henry, the latter chairing the committee behind the Diaspora DMV awards, which were sponsored by Island Pride.

The programme was executed under the auspices of the Embassy of Jamaica, through an organising committee drawn from the DMV diaspora members and the Embassy.  It was chaired by the Embassy’s Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Ms. Aliecia Taylor, with Dr. Basil Buchanan co-chairing. Meanwhile, proceeds from the offerings collected during the service will benefit CUMI, the Community for the Upliftment of the Mentally Ill individuals in Montego Bay

Following the service, Ambassador Marks hosted a reception, where attendees feasted on sumptuous Jamaican meals and drinks, catered by Island Quisine.   Art and craft items, raffle prizes of Jamaican gift packages as well as   an Organization of American States (OAS) commemorative cookbook “Celebrating Food and Friendship in the Americas: marking the 75th anniversary of the OAS and the University of the West Indies” were also featured.

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