Foreign ministry saved my son
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Unlike Paul Stephens, the pilot recently released from prison in Qatar, I want to praise the swift action of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
My son, Jeremy Blake, having earned his bachelor's degree at Bloomfield College, New Jersey, disappeared from Monterey, where he was registered for his master's programme. For nearly two years, family and friends searched for him and in December 2010 a childhood friend saw him in Miami Beach, talked to him, and managed to get a phone number which he gave to his mother.
My son was too ill to remember the house and address where he had lived all his life. We could not find him in Miami Beach but learnt he hung out in libraries. On July 16 (my birthday) 2011, I cleared my mail box and found a letter from West Los Angeles, California, from Pastor Hooks of the Homeless Shelter asking if I was the mother of Jeremy Blake. Incidentally, the letter was dated January 4 and it took six months to get into my box.
I called Pastor Hooks. He introduced Mrs Janet Levine, who noticed the huge 270lb, 6'3" young man sitting in a corner of the coffee shop always reading TIME magazine and who talked with him, took him to her Malibu home, and helped him financially. My family, my friends, the City Mission Church in LA, and everybody helped to find Jeremy.
Mr Editor, by 9 a.m. the following Monday, I walked up the steps of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The interviewing officer later called Mr Lloyd Wilks, who came out of his office to meet with us in the reception area.
With Pastor Hooks' letter in hand, he immediately called Los Angeles, advised there was no embassy there, and I heard him set up a schedule to bring Jeremy back to Jamaica. Within two months, he was in Jamaica, having travelled from LA to Miami, where he changed planes and arrived in Kingston a very sick man.
Jeremy Blake has since died, but I have only praise for the prompt assistance given by the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially Mr Lloyd Wilks, who is now Jamaica's consul general to Toronto.