Derrick Scott, Contributor
Atlanta's Jamaican community brought the curtains down on Jamaica's 50th Independence anniversary celebrations on Saturday, January 19, shining the spotlight on more than 30 individuals who have given stellar service in education, health, law, media, social services, business and religion.
And the Jamaican ambassador, Stephen Vasciannie, lauded the honourees for their "sterling contributions" and for exemplifying "the hard work for which the Jamaicans in the diaspora are renowned".
Just over 300 guests attended the Jamaica 50th Planning Committee Awards ceremony at the Atlanta City Hall Atrium in downtown Atlanta, where Howard Shirley, who owns Vibes Nightclub, was honoured for his contribution to business. The other honourees included Glen Laman, past president, Kingston College Old Boys' Association, Atlanta Chapter, for community contribution; Dr Chris Parker, culture; Dr Karen Russell-Randall, education; Monty Montgomery, entertainment; Dr Noel Erskine, religion; Marjorie Wilson, health care; Allan Alberga, Esq., law and justice; Dr Paul Abrahams, media; Copeland Comrie, social services; and Frank Watson, sports.
The ambassador said they had made outstanding contributions in continuing to keep the Jamaican flag flying high. He described the honourees as "distinguished women and men who have in many instances placed community and collective spirit at the forefront of their thoughts and actions". They have resolved to offer contributions to the lives and welfare of others, he said.
Ambassador Vasciannie had high praises for the Jamaica's 50th Atlanta Planning Committee and Jamaica's honorary consul to Atlanta, Vin Martin, for planning a wide range of yearlong activities beginning last year to celebrate Jamaica's 50th year of Independence from Britain.
Noted Jamaican songbird Karen Smith had the audience spellbound as she took them down memory lane with her various renditions