Sandals Resorts International was among the honorees at the 20th Annual Gala of the New York based Jamaican charity, Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) Inc. The presentation of awards took place at the Hilton New York, JFK Airport on Saturday, December 6, 2014. COJO Visionary Awards were presented to Sandals Resorts and Richard Lue of VP Records. Former Prime Minister the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson who served as guest of honor presented the award to Wayne Cummings, Director of Administration representing Sandals Resorts while COJO Board Member Sharon Locke-Stoney presented the award to Richard Lue of VP Records.
Rounding out the 2014 honorees were Vilma & Dalbert Daley, Philanthropy Award; Paulette Taylor & Robert DeSouza, Sr., Team Awards; Mark Crawford, Esq., Community Service Award; and Golden Krust Caribbean Grill & Bakery, the Corporate Service Award.
Over 250 patrons attended the anniversary gala affair under the guidance of co-hosts Ruschell Boone, NY1 News Queens reporter and Dervan Malcolm of Power 106FM, Jamaica. The event got underway promptly at 9:00 pm with the playing of the national anthems of the United States and Jamaica followed by prayers by Rev. Canon Calvin McIntyre, Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Both emcees moved the program along smoothly so guests could enjoy the music provided by Empea Entertainment. Braata Folk Singers and Glen Washington also provided entertainment throughout the night. Gail Moaney, Managing Partner, Director of Finn Partners welcomed the patrons while Marcia Erskine, public relations consultant presented an overview of COJO.
After being introduced by COJO Board Member Sharon Locke-Stoney, Mr. Patterson in his remarks commended COJO on its work and lauded them for their contribution toward nation building. He went further in commending Jamaicans in the Diaspora for the contribution they make to their homeland not just by way of remittances but through their alma mater, service clubs or other charitable activities.
COJO Founder Gary Williams thanked the many sponsors and donors who continue to support the organization to ensure it is able to carry out its mission of making a difference in the lives of less fortunate children in Jamaica as well as the United States.
For two decades, the volunteer-driven organization has supported a number of institutions in Jamaica as well as the United States. Among them, the Alpha Boys’ Home, Glenhope Place of Safety, Marigold Child Care Centre, City of Refuge, St. Augustine Place of Safety for Boys, Musgrave Girls’ Home in Jamaica; and in New York, the Jamaica, Queens YMCA and Leaf of Life.