Jamaica News: It was standing room only as Jamaicans and friends poured into Dumbarton Chapel at Howard University School of Law in Washington DC on Sunday, August 5 for the Service of Thanksgiving for their country’s 56th anniversary of independence.
Organised by the Embassy of Jamaica, the annual church service was attended by members of the Jamaican communities in Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, New York and Connecticut.
Others in attendance were members of the diplomatic corps, representatives from international organisations in Washington DC, Senatorial, Congressional and State representatives as well as Heads of various diaspora organisations.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness’ message was read by Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks.
Mr. Holness said he “deeply values” the contributions of diaspora members to all sectors of the nation, “and it is for this reason that the Government has embarked upon a new thrust to harness the skills and expertise of Jamaicans in the diaspora”.
He added that despite the country’s achievements as a nation over the past 56 years, there are still challenges, and dismantling these barriers requires a united effort by Jamaicans from all walks of life – both at home and in the diaspora.
The Prime Minister said commemoration of Jamaica’s 56th year as an independent nation “presents an opportunity for Jamaicans both at home and in the diaspora to reflect on and celebrate the significant achievements made in the past by the nation, while significantly planning the future”.
“Jamaica’s success as a nation is in large measure attributed to the bold, courageous and energetic spirit which defines our people at home and abroad. It is this innate and unique spirit which gave birth to independent Jamaica in 1962, characterised by patriotism and sacrifices by the country’s founding fathers,” Mr. Holness said.
The Prime Minister added that Jamaica is considerably endowed with human capital that is tremendously innovative, powerful and influential.
“The strength of brand Jamaica can be largely attributed to our three=million-strong overseas Jamaican community, of which you (the diaspora) are proud members. Your deep affinity to your homeland and fervent loyalty to Jamaican products ensure continued growth, recognition and success of brand Jamaica,” he said.
Mr. Holness called on members of the diaspora to partner with the Government to work side by side for sustained socio-economic growth and prosperity for all Jamaicans.
For her part, the Ambassador described the celebration of the 56th anniversary of Independence under this year’s theme, ‘Jamaica 56 – One Love… One Family’, as quite fitting, as it serves as a rallying call “for Jamaicans both at home and abroad to unite to achieve national development goals”.
The Ambassador thanked members of the diaspora who continue to give their time, energy and resources towards the well-being of the wider Jamaican family, both at home and abroad.
“I continue to be inspired by the fact that the years and distance that separate us have not in any way diminished your love, affinity and strong ties to your beloved homeland,” she said.
Scripture lessons were read by President of the Jamaican Nationals Association, Dr. Elaine Knight; youth representative, Nicholas Williams; and Ms. Barbara Brissett, President of the Washington DC chapter of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Alumni Association.
The service was officiated by Jamaican theologian and Dean of the Howard University School of Divinity, Dr. Bertram Melbourne, and Rev. Sylvia McDonald Kaufman, Dean of the Howard Graduate School. This year’s recipient of the offering is the Disabilities Association of Jamaica.
Source: JIS News