Master of ceremonies for the evening Robert DeSouza welcomed all to the event. A special welcome was extended to the Consul General of Jamaica to New York, Ms. Trudy Deans and Consul General of Trinidad and Tobago to New York, Ms. Kiva Clark.
To set the tone and highlight Jamaica’s dominance in track and field the video of Jamaica’s Aisha Praught’s (surprising) win in the Steeple Chase at the Commonwealth Games was shown to much applause by Jamaica’s Consul General and the audience. Ms. Clarke was welcomed by the video of Trinidadian Michelle Lee Ayhe winning the 100m at the Commonwealth game to her delight.
Remarks were delivered on behalf of Caribbean Food Delights/Royal Caribbean Bakery, TJB’s founding partner, by Janice Julian, Marketing/Public Relations Officer. They are celebrating 40 years in business 24 of which have been committed in part to TJB around the Penn Relays.
The official launch of Romain Virgo, as ambassador of the organization for 2018-2019 was the highlight of the evening and was presented by VP Records Aaron Talbot. Romain has committed part-proceeds from the download of the song Still from the album Lovesick to Team Jamaica Bickle. He will make an appearance at this year’s Penn Relays.
“At only $1.29 per download this is an opportunity for many people to help with the efforts of TJB. Let’s make ‘Still,’ the most downloaded reggae song ever in one week so that we can make a significant contribution on the behalf of VP Records, Romain and the fans;” said Richard Lue, Dir. Business development, VP Records
The event highlighted the organization’s calendar of activities as well as its MANNA Raffle. The MANNA (medical attention and nutrition now for athletes), raffle offers a grand prize of 5 days/4 nights at the all-inclusive Sandals Jamaica, coupled with a Catamaran Cruise, courtesy Island Routes and an USD $800 air-fare travel voucher. It raises funds mainly to outfit schools in Jamaica with defibrillators. Several raffle tickets were sold at the event.
Akelia Lawrence Maitland, Jamaica Diaspora advisory Board Member, NE Chapter, spearheaded an impromptu fundraising moment that raised over $1500 on the spot and sparked donations at teamjamaicabickle.org
In his remarks Irwine Clare, Snr., thanked founding partner Caribbean Food Delights/Royal Caribbean Bakery for 24 years of solid support. He went on to also highlight the calendar of events leading into the Penn Relays and closed by expressing gratitude to all who supports the organization especially those in attendance.
Several community notables were in the room: New York State Senator, Kevin Parker; Mrs. Pat Chin and Chris Chin of VP Records; Attorney Stephen Drummond, Reggae Singer, Ed. Robinson; Mike Mullings, Sandra McCarthy, Caribbean Business Connections; Sharon Gordon of Coalition for the Preservation of Reggae and Sherie Murray, Republican State Committee Woman.
Main Sponsors for this year’s activities are Caribbean Food Delights, Tower Isles Patties, Grace Foods, Union of Jamaica Alumni Association (UJAA), JTB, Sandals, Island Routes, The ROC – Restaurant Owners Corp and Caribbean Business Connections.
Supporting sponsors; Warren, Warren & Appolon, Visiting Angels Living Assistance, Paulette & Howard Bradnock, Westbury Toyota, Homesmart Realty, Larry & Nancy Pantier Foundation, Irie Butterfly Foundation, Jamaica Breezes Restaurant, Genesis Restaurant, Annmarie Landel, and the Law offices of Drummond & Squillace and Sandra Smith, Esq.