WASHINGTON DC - Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks has lauded the Montego Bay Atlanta Sister City Committee for its nearly thirty years of service to the City of Montego Bay and parish of St. James.
In a message delivered by information officer at embassy of Jamaica Mr. Derrick Scott to the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Committee “Dance for Health” fundraiser last Saturday at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel, Ambassador Marks noted that its “outreach has touched more than 60,000 people in St. James over the years, and for the last 28 years your monetary and in-kind contributions have surpassed JA$750 million dollars. This is a remarkable expression of love for Jamaica.”
The Ambassador pointed out that last year, “fifteen schools in St. James, Trelawny, and Kingston, as well as three health centers in Western Jamaica benefited from donations. These donations comprised personal protective equipment, scholarships, tablets, and laptop computers, valued at JA$18 million for our schools, and well-needed high flow oxygen delivery devices and oxygen concentrators, valued at JA$11 million for our health centers,” she said.
In addition, “scholarships valued at JA$300,000 each were also awarded to two medical students at the University of the West Indies. A further three scholarships valued at JA$75,000 each were given to students from the St. James and Montego Bay High Schools in honor of the late Vin Martin, the longstanding Chairman and founder of the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister City Committee.”
“Diaspora organizations, such as this Committee, remain a valuable component of our national development strategy, and the initiatives mentioned are tangible
examples of the activities that characterize the strong bond of friendship between Atlanta and Montego Bay, formalized in 1972,” Ambassador Marks said.
Meanwhile, in her remarks, Global Engagement Manager for the Mayor of Atlanta’s Office of International and Immigrant Affairs, Mrs. Meredith Steinmetz-Rodriguez, says “for decades, Atlanta Montego Bay’s Sister Cities Commission ‘s exceptional fundraising efforts and the hard work of dedicated volunteer physicians and nurses, have served as an invaluable pillar of support to the Montego Bay community.”
She observed that Montego Bay and Atlanta have the second longest sister city relationship dating back to 1972. “This was not by chance Montego Bay and Atlanta share many things in common and one of them being their major role in the development of the civil rights movement in the U.S.”
“Economically, both of our cities punch above our weight. Montego Bay is pivotal to Jamaica’s economy as Atlanta is pivotal to Georgia's, noting that the “two focus areas that bring both of our cities together is the commitment to our under-served communities and health.”
She explained that “the Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee Health Program’s mission is to expand support for health programs directed to the under-served residents of Montego Bay by assembling the most qualified team of health professionals and delivering the most competent level of health service to the less-privileged residents of Montego Bay.
“The work being done by the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee, does just that, you are standing in the gap and impacting the lives of thousands of residents in the work that you do,” Mrs. Steinmetz-Rodriguez concluded.
Chair of the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee Dr. Yvonne Smith in recommitting the organization’s mission to help improve the levels of education and health care in St. James announced that the organization’s 2022 mission will not be held in October this year and gave the assurance that it would resume next year.