Wed | Mar 3, 2021

Top diplomat hails dedication of Jamaicans in the diaspora

Published:Saturday | December 26, 2020 | 12:10 AM
Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States.
Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States.

Jamaica’s chief diplomat in the United States, Audrey Marks, has hailed the commitment and dedication of the Jamaican Diaspora to their homeland as she reflected on the extraordinary challenges that gripped the past year.

In a message to mark the Yuletide season and the end of a tumultuous year, Marks highlighted the unwavering support of Jamaicans abroad who, despite also enduring significant obstacles created by the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, continue to remit much-needed funds to their loved ones on the island.

“Despite your own challenges in navigating the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, you continue to give sacrificially,” the Jamaican diplomat in Washington emphasised.

“Your increased remittances have been a lifeline to many and is noted by a grateful nation,” Marks added, as she went on to “convey sincere appreciation to members of the Jamaican Diaspora for your unrelenting support to your homeland during this difficult time”.

Continuing, she noted: “This has been a difficult year for us all as we continue to battle with the deadly Coronavirus-19 pandemic. Over the past nine months, not only have the livelihood of Jamaicans at home and abroad been severely affected by the unfortunate ripple effect of the pandemic, but even more devastating was the loss of lives of loved ones.”

In further highlighting the impact of the pandemic on the Jamaican economy, Marks said: “Like many other economies across the world, Jamaica suffered a steep contraction this year due to the current health crisis.”

Notwithstanding the challenges, she said: “We are looking forward to a better future. Economic experts have made the projection that the economy is likely to grow upwards of 3.9 per cent in 2021 and foresees continued growth through to 2022 and beyond.”

Pointing to specific steps being taken to ensure the island’s economic recovery, Marks said: “We are also continuing with a careful and structured approach to safely welcome tourists from across the world and to make inroads in the export market with the consistent exportation of farm produce and other new products such as toilet paper to the United States.”

The ambassador said these sparks of positivity demonstrated the resilience of the Jamaican people and indicated that “we are still capable of achieving great things, even in the times of hardship and despair”.

“Therefore, as we celebrate this Christmas season, let us remember who we are as a people: a reservoir of remarkable courage, fortitude, and an indomitable spirit,” she said.