The Consulate General in Miami is reaching out to Jamaican nationals in the Belle Glade, Florida, a number of whom are facing health and economic hardship.
At a recent community fair hosted by the Consulate on the grounds of the Hole in the Wall Restaurant, persons were assisted to complete applications for Jamaican passports and birth certificates.
Volunteers from the Jamaica Nurses Association of Florida (JNAF) provided a range of routine health checks and health education, while members of the Florida chapter of the Caribbean Bar Association (CBA) gave pro bono services.
A large number of Jamaicans comprise the population of nearly 3,000 residents of Belle Glade and the neighbouring Clewiston communities located in the sugar cane belt of western Palm Beach County.
Consul General, Ricardo Allicock, explained to JIS News that some of the Jamaicans, who reside in Belle Glade, were former farm workers recruited through the United States hospitality and farm work programmes.
He said that as the community ages, it has come to the Consulate’s attention that some of these persons have been experiencing hardship in their living conditions due to economic and health-related issues.
For some persons, he continued, the economic challenge had come as a result of being displaced by the increased mechanization of the sugar industry.
He said that the Consulate has been in contact with the Jamaica Central Labour Organisation (JCLO) headquartered in Washington, D.C., to resolve some of the matters concerning current or former workers in the Southern United States. The JCLO has responsibility for Jamaicans recruited for the overseas labour programmes.
Mr. Allicock informed that the Consulate has also collaborated with the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) to provide valid identification for persons in Belle Glade, who have expressed such a need.
A team from the RGD, headed by Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Patricia Holness, along with staff of the Consulate, recently visited nationals in that area to begin the process of completing relevant documentation.
Meanwhile, Mr. Allicock assured the residents that on a timely basis, the Consulate will continue to partner with the relevant agencies to provide consular, legal, health and all relevant services for the welfare of Jamaican nationals in Florida, as it is the responsibility of the overseas missions to protect and promote the interest of all Jamaicans resident in the Diaspora.
He also encouraged Jamaican charitable organizations in Florida to lend assistance to indigent Jamaicans in Belle Glade.
Mr. Allicock expressed appreciation to all professionals, who volunteered their services during the one-day fair, and also thanked the Jamaican restaurant proprietor, Maverna Payne, on whose property the event was held.