Martin also helped the other Caribbean communities in Georgia. His legacy looms tall. Attorney Jewel Scott now takes over his role. Scott has an impressive resume. She has practiced law for 25 years in Jamaica, New York and Georgia and became, simultaneously, the first Caribbean national, first individual of African descent and first female to be elected district attorney of Clayton County.
She boasted a 100 percent conviction rate, a perfect child abuse conviction rate and high kidnapping and rape conviction rates. She also instituted initiatives that enhanced police resources and programs that prevented young persons from settling into a life of crime.
Caribbean Todayâ€™s freelance writer Jason Walker spoke with Scott recently.
Jason Walker: How did you find out you were chosen?
Jewel Scott: I found out I was chosen for the position by a telephone call from our honorary Consul General Franz Hall on or about August 26, 2014.
J.W.: What is the process?
J.S.: There is no set process, but what I did was write to the decision-makers, including the Jamaican Ambassador to the U.S. Stephen Vasciannie, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the honorable Arnold .J. Nicholson, Q.C., indicating my interest in the position. I also did an interview with our C.G. Franz Hall. There was also a process for the U.S. Department of State to clear me for office.
J.W.: Vin Martin left very big shoes, how do you see yourself continuing his legacy? Or not?
J.S.: My role currently is to continue the work of the consulateâ€™s office by processing passports, visas and enabling Jamaican citizens and others who want to travel to Jamaica for pleasure, for trade and business opportunities, to be able to do so.
The larger vision is to grow the membership of our Jamaican community in the metro Atlanta area and to keep our group strong and involved so that they have a voice on issues that impact them here and in Jamaica. This includes staying involved with leaders and elected and appointed officials in municipalities, cities, counties and state. I want to be efficient and effective in my new role.
J.W.: What else do you wish to get done as consul general?
J.S.: The honorary consulâ€™s office is an extension of the Jamaican government in a foreign country to facilitate Jamaican citizens in obtaining important documents, in staying connected to their homeland, in providing information on trade opportunities to individuals and corporations in the United States who want to do business in Jamaica, fostering benevolent missions to Jamaica, connecting with other consular offices around the world who have offices in the U.S. and in Georgia.
The value to Jamaica is that there is definitely a service being provided to its nationals who live abroad where the process for approving passports, birth certificates and other important documents is expedited, its nationals who become incarcerated can link with the office of the consul general to get much needed information about the criminal justice system and immigration system and how it works. It also keeps Jamaican nationals linked with their homeland.
J.W.: How do you see the position of consul general and its value to the community?
J.S.: I believe the Georgia community will continue to work well with this office.
J.W.: How do you think your past experiences will help you in the position of honorary consul general?
J.S.: Because I have served as a public official before, this gave me an opportunity to interact with the public, understand their issues and be responsive to those issues. I understand how governments and governance work and these attributes I bring to the table.
J.W.: What is your message to those in the diaspora as you ascend to this position?
J.S.: My message to the diaspora is simple. My intention is to serve effectively and diligently in this new role. I crave their patience as I become acclimatized to this office.
It is my desire to make the Jamaican community a connected, harmonious community that is informed on the issues that affect them in their new homeland and for them to be vocal on these issues because of their strength in numbers and commitment to the well-being of all.