Jamaican nationals in South Florida receive “Community Service Awards”

On Sunday March 25th, 18 Jamaican Nationals were awarded, “Community Service Awards” by the Consulate General of Jamaica at the Community Service Awards Ceremony and High Tea at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

The awards were given to individual who were, the first to initiate an event or program of cultural significance, rendered extraordinary assistance to Jamaica or the Consulate General Office over the past year and served longest in areas of cultural, religious of nationalistic significance.

In offering congratulations to the honorees, Consul General Ricardo Allicock stated, “As adaptive as Jamaicans tend to be to any foreign environment into which they may migrate, it is heartening to note how steadfastly they cling to the homegrown culture which so uniquely defines them. However, even as Jamaicans abroad ten to celebrate and perpetuate aspects of our culture, it is all the more heartening to note the significant efforts those in our Diaspora make to lend support to Jamaica’s continuing development”.

Jamaica’s Governor General, His Excellency The Most Honorable Professor Kenneth O. Hall, ON, OJ was the featured Guest Speaker. He shared his perspective on all aspects of Jamaica’s growth and development from early childhood to tourism. According to the Governor General, “Jamaicans at home and all over the world have earned an enviable reputation for creativity, energy, resilience and the ability to achieve extraordinary results, often against the odds. The ongoing involvement of Jamaicans in the Diaspora in various aspects of development, signals a commitment to strengthen the network between Jamaicans residing abroad and those at home”.

Over 500 attendees witnessed the awards ceremony to honor the following individuals:

Ms. Norma Bancroft is among the group of five persons which hosted the first Jamaica Independence Ball in South Florida. She is a founder and current president of the Florida Organization of Jamaicans, a charitable entity which has provided assistance to the indigent and imprisoned in Jamaica as well as to the disadvantaged Jamaicans in South Florida. Ms. Bancroft is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Medal of Honor.

Mrs. June Chin is among the group of five persons which hosted the first Jamaica Independence Ball in South Florida. She is also the founder of the Florida Chapter of the Missionaries of the Poor and a founder of t he Florida Organization of Jamaicans.

Mr. Lloyd Daley is the founding member of the charitable Jamaican organizations, Members Only Social Club of Miami and Jamaica United Relief Association. In his civic and professional capacities, Mr. Daley has rendered unquantifiable support to the Jamaican community as well as to the Consulate General of Jamaica.

The Reverend Dr. Dennis Grant recently made a substantial personal donation to the Jamaica Constabulary Force for medical expenses for a police officer injured in the line of duty. In additional to responding to the needs of vulnerable Jamaicans in this manner, at home and abroad, Rev. Grant also serves as pastor of Restoration Ministries in Ft. Lauderdale and is an ardent human rights activist in the South Florida community.

Commissioner Dale Holness currently serves as Vice Mayor of the City of Lauderhill and, in this capacity he recently spearheaded the twinning of Lauderhill and Falmouth, Trelawny in October 2006, as sister cities. The Commissioner holds membership in a number of charitable and professional organizations which impact the Caribbean community.

Mrs. Laurice Hunter-Scott has been chairperson of the Coordinating Council of the Kingston-Miami Sister Cities Program since 1989. This Sister Cities collaboration is the first of its kind established between Jamaican and State of Florida, and through Mrs. Hunter-Scott has contributed to establishment of trade, education, disaster preparedness and cultural exchange programs. She also serves as a member of the Jamaica Nurses Association of Florida.

The Reverend Noel Hyatt has brought noteworthy spiritual leadership to the Jamaican South Florida community as pastor of the Gateway Church in Ft. Lauderdale which has predominant Jamaican congregation for 35 years.

Ms. Claudette Parkin is among the group of five persons which hosted the first Jamaica Independence Ball in South Florida. She is also a founding member of the Jamaica Nurses Association of Florida and the Convent of Mercy Alpha Alumnae chapter in South Florida, and continues to remain active in both organizations.

Mrs. Joan Seaga-Gonzales is among the group of five persons which hosted the first Jamaica Independence Ball in South Florida. She founded the Jamaica United Relief Association which, since inception has held as its mandate a commitment to lending support to health care management and delivery to the neediest of persons in South Florida and Jamaica. Mrs. Seaga-Gonzales is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Medal of Honor.

Mr. Phillip Wong is a South Florida business-man who serves as a member of the Florida chapter of the St. George’s College Old Boys’ Association. Through this organization, Mr. Wong has contributed generously to his alma mater and more recently provided full scholarships to five third formers at St. George’s: three until graduation from high school; two until graduation from university.

Longevity in Service awards were presented to:

Mr. Ron Burke who specializes in Caribbean oriented programming, is the first West Indian radio broadcaster/producer in South Florida. Mr. Burke began his career in radio broadcasting in the USA in 1981 at WDNA-FM and continues in this capacity at MYSTIK 1400 AM in Broward County.

Ms. Winsome ‘Lady C’ Charlton pioneered the 24-hour Caribbean format radio station in the USA. She accomplished this through WAVS 1170 AM in Broward County where she stills serves as a producer. Ms. Charlton is also the producer of the annual ReggaeSoca Music awards event and serves on the boards of several community charitable organizations.

Mrs. Norma Darby is the leading voice in traditional music, history, folklore and dance in South Florida. Her contributions to the preservation and dissemination of Jamaican culture are delivered through the Jamaica Folk Revue, the performance group which she has lead for 28 years.

Mr. Carson ‘Eddy’ Edwards is the producer of the longest running Caribbean oriented program on South Florida radio. The program is now in its twenty third year and airs on WTPS 1080 AM. He is also director of Jamaica Awareness, Inc., which has been delivering packaged entertainment to the South Florida community for more than two decades.

Ms. Elizabeth Grier is the longest serving staff member of the Consulate General of Jamaica in Miami. Ms. Grier joined the office in 1987 and has served in the consular passport and visa divisions, as well as with JAMPRO.

Mr. Sydney Roberts is president of Jamaica Awareness, Inc., which he formed in 1984. Through his organization, Mr. Roberts has sought to heighten the awareness of Caribbean culture through the delivery of events highlighting that region’s various art forms in the South Florida community. Mr. Roberts is among the group of five persons which hosted the first Jamaica Independence Ball in South Florida.

Mrs. Elgeta Thompson-Martin through her leadership in the Clint O’Neil Needy Kids of Jamaica Foundation and the Caribbean Music Festival, has hosted the Grand Jamaica Ball in celebration of Jamaica’s anniversary of Independence for the past 21 years. Mrs. Thompson-Martin, through this event and other charitable community activities, has been enabled in lending support to persons in need in Jamaica as well as in the South Florida Caribbean diasporic community. She is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Medal of Honor.

Mr. Peter Webley is the pioneer publisher of Caribbean print media in South Florida. His newspaper, Caribbean Today, has had continuous production since December 1989 and enjoys a current monthly circulation of 40,000 across the eastern United States and the Caribbean.

Sponsors for the Community Service Awards Ceremony And High Tea includes CTI Technologies, Inc. ZAP Courier, Grace Foods, Greta Robinson, Ricky & Lissette Wade, Jamaica National Representative Office, JN Overseas (USA) Inc. and Senvia Money Serves.

Committee members includes, Consul General C.P. Ricardo Allicock, Ms. Winsome Charlton, Mrs. Bridget Edwards, Ms. June Minto, Ms. lisa Narcisse, Ms. Cherly Wynter and Mrs. Marcia Yateman-Bent.