Jamaicans urged to count blessings
Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks has called on Jamaicans at home and overseas to use the occasion of the country's Independence to reflect on the many blessings for which the nation should be thankful.
The ambassador, in a message delivered by Minister-Counselor at the Embassy, Nicolette Williams, at the Jamaican Association of Maryland's (JAM) annual Independence gala in Baltimore last Saturday, said that notwithstanding the challenges, Jamaica has continued to maintain a stable and vibrant democracy.
She noted that there have been significant economic gains, citing the reduction in the inflation rate, increase in the net international reserves (NIR), reduction of the unemployment rate to 9.6 per cent in January 2018 resulting from the creation of 22,000 additional jobs, and growth of 1.4 per cent for the January to March 2018 quarter.
She expressed the hope that as Jamaica celebrates its 56th anniversary of Independence, "we will become more united in our joint efforts to tackle the challenges we face in making Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business".
Meanwhile, Ambassador Marks commended JAM for 30 years of devoted service to Jamaica and the city of Baltimore.
She said the members continue "to give selflessly, as well as volunteer time and resources towards the well-being of the wider Jamaican family and the Jamaican community in Baltimore".
The Jamaican envoy, who is also permanent representative to the Organization of American States, said she is pleased with JAM's efforts to invest in children through the provision of 75 Claude McKay scholarships since the organisation's inception in 1988.
"Your services and unwavering commitment to fellow Jamaicans to promoting our culture and heritage while advancing the welfare of our fellow citizens in Jamaica and Maryland is most commendable," she added.
JAM's Marcus Garvey Universal Negro Improvement Association Award was presented to philanthropist Cecil Clarke, while the Community Service Award went to president of the Marcus Garvey Foundation, Dermoth Brown, and pastor of Faith Gospel Church, Ezra Sterling.