JCA: The next generation

JCA: The next generation

The Jamaican Canadian Association gathered recently for the 52nd anniversary of Jamaica’s independence. From left are: Minister of State Damon Crawford, Consul-General George Ramocan, High Commissioner Shelia Sealey Monteith, JCA President Barrington Coke and Minister of Local Government Noel Arscott.

By Gerald V. Paul

The Jamaican community gathered at the Jamaican Canadian Association last Saturday for the 52nd Anniversary Independence Gala, The JCA: The Next Generation, with Damon Crawford, minister of state, ministry of tourism and education, then on Monday at a reception to bid farewell to High Commissioner The Jamaican Canadian Association Sheila Sealy Monteith and Consul-General Seth George Ramocan.

In written greetings to the community, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said, “I congratulate the JCA on its resilience and commitment in serving its members over the past 52 years and its provision of social and cultural programs to Jamaicans, Caribbean and Afro-Canadian peoples in Toronto.”

Simpson Miller continued, “The government of Jamaica looks forward to continuing this long and fruitful partnership with JCA as it seeks to engage all Jamaicans living overseas, as well as friends of Jamaica, in the thrust to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business, in line with the National Development Plan: Vision 2030.”

Monteith said, “Today, recognizing the developments which have taken place around you and the prospects for re-energizing and recommitting to your essential mission, you have embraced the theme of “A New Beginning”. I wish for you the vision, creativity and determination to grasp the opportunities which will undoubtedly be presented and the courage to see beyond any challenge which may arise.”

Ramocan noted, “As we reflect on our past history, intertwined as it is with failures and successes, I urge you to press on with a new determination. Let us draw on our God-given resources and renew our vow to ‘pledge the love and loyalty of our hearts, the wisdom and courage of our minds, the strength and vigor of our bodies in service of our fellow citizens’ so that Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity.”

Crawford stressed the importance of education and technology. “A job is just an opportunity. We need to create value. Education is the weapon of mass destruction in the war against poverty.” He called for citizen involvement in governmental affairs to bring about meaningful change and create good for the greater community.

Crawford was recognized for his leadership qualities from his early years as a student at the University of the West Indies, UWI. He was awarded Master of Science and the Bachelor of Science degrees in Tourism Management by UWI in 2005.

“Fifty-two years ago, a group of 12 founding members and stalwarts got together to be united as one in a foreign land and to celebrate Jamaica’s historic landmark event – its independence. The JCA has moved from its mainly social genesis to becoming an important community organization advocating for Jamaicans and other minorities. Later, it formally included the delivery of social services for at-risk groups within the community,” said Barrington Coke, JCA president.

Coke praised the planning committee, led by Dr. Sylvanus Thompson, as doing “a wonderful job planning this event.”

Meanwhile, it’s that time again to share in the fun at JCA’s 15th Annual Charity Golf Classic Tournament at the Royal Woodbine Golf Club, 195 Galaxy Blvd, Etobicoke, on Saturday at 11 a.m. It provides a wonderful opportunity for the community to actively support and promote the continued growth and development of the Jamaican Canadian Association services.

“Over the past 14 years the tournament has raised more than $100,000. The proceeds from this year’s tournament will support the JCA Saturday morning tutorial program for the JCA Scholarship Awards,” said Coke.