WASHINGTON, DC – Fellow Jamaicans and Friends of Jamaica,
I greet you warmly at this special and most wonderful time of the year.
Jamaicans across the globe look forward to Christmas for so many compelling reasons. It is a time for celebration and festivities as we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ; for family gatherings; and for sharing with those less fortunate. It is also a time for quiet reflection and an opportunity to look forward to a new year, full of hope and new beginnings.
As 2016 draws close to an end, we can look retrospectively on a year that was quite eventful across the globe.
For Jamaica, we witnessed the peaceful transition of government, a hallmark of our democracy; we have proudly continued to maintain a stable economy, achieving a 2.2% growth at the end of the last quarter ending in September, mainly attributed to growth in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.
One of the main highlights of the year was the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where our athletes yet again did us so proud, once more demonstrating to the world that “we likkle but we tallawah”.
There were also many challenges. We must however remain resolute that we can and will overcome them, as one of our endearing traits, as a people, is our resilience in the face of adversities.
During this Holy Season, I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to my fellow Jamaicans across the United States of America for your unwavering patriotism to our beloved country, and for your invaluable contribution to the process of nation building.
The importance of the Diaspora has been clearly and widely articulated by the Government of Jamaica throughout the year.
In September of this year, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, who has responsibility for Diaspora Affairs engaged the Diaspora at a Town Hall Meeting in New York, and used the opportunity to reiterate the importance of this partnership.
It is my intent to build on the efforts of the Government by facilitating the coordination of a more cohesive Diaspora across the U.S.A.; forging deeper alliances and developing new partnerships.
It is my hope that these will ultimately lead to the empowerment of Jamaicans across the U.S.A, as well as, give support to the Diaspora’s active involvement in the national growth agenda of our country.
As we celebrate this Season, and look forward to the New Year, let us be thankful for all the blessings God has bestowed upon us, as a people and as a nation.
May the true meaning of Christmas remain in our hearts throughout the season and always.
On behalf of the entire staff at the Embassy and my family, I wish for you and your families a warm, safe, peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and a bright and prosperous 2017.
Audrey Marks, Ambassador