By Lincoln DePradine
Jamaican parliamentarian Juliet Holness is looking to overseas-based fellow nationals to help in creating a “first world Jamaica’’.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is possible,’’ Holness, MP for St Andrew East Rural, said last Saturday while delivering the keynote address at a ” grand charity gala” in Toronto.
“Join us in building a better future for our young people,’’ urged the MP, who is wife of Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. “Join us in creating a more caring environment for our seniors. Join us in creating more efficient investments and working opportunities for our people.’’
A large crowd – comprising Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals, diplomats and representatives of the three levels of government in Canada – attended the gala’’, titled “A New Era of Care’’, at the Delta Hotel By Marriott Toronto.
It was organized by A-Supreme Foundation, in conjunction with the Jamaica 55 Independence Canada Committee. Through A-Supreme Foundation, senior citizens in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are provided with subsidized homecare.
The founders of A-Supreme Foundation were recognized at the gala and the “Diamond Citizen Award’’ was presented to “supportive individuals and organizations.”
The gala was also part of a fundraising initiative called, “The Golden Circle Dignity Campaign’’.
“We’re celebrating those who stand in the gap for others who are less capable. That’s what the A-Supreme Foundation does; we stand in the gap for seniors who are not able to take care of themselves,’’ said Keisha Johnson, president of A-Supreme Foundation. “Our goal tonight is to raise $100,000 so that we would be able to assist 500 seniors with the in-home care that they need to live with dignity.’’
Johnson envisions A-Supreme Foundation providing service to even more seniors in Ontario.
“Our baby boomers are aging and so, it becomes even more important for organizations like ours to step up to the plate and fill the gap to ensure that no senior is left behind,’’ she said. “We implore you to get on board with us to assist our seniors in our community. We want to be able to extend that service beyond the GTA.’’
During her brief Toronto visit, Holness participated in a series of activities.
“It has been a whirlwind of activities for myself and my small team since we arrived in Toronto,’’ she said. “But, I’m grateful and happy for the firsthand exposure it has presented me, where I’ve been able to the see the successes of so many Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica here in the Diaspora,’’ Holness said.
“I’ve been able to hear their challenges and their concerns; but also, I’ve been able to examine the opportunities available for partnerships and collaboration, so that Jamaicans everywhere may – under God – increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity.’’
The Jamaican MP noted that her “passion for children and for the maximization of educational opportunities by young people consumes my daily life and work’’. She explained that there is a “nexus’’ between her work with children and youth and A-Supreme Foundation’s care and concern for seniors.
“The nexus between these two groups and the way we facilitate careful and effective interaction with the minds of those two vulnerable groups – the very old and the very young – ultimately determine not just the sophistication of our society but the real progress and productivity of us, as a people,’’ said Holness.
Holness issued an invitation for “partnerships from Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica in the Diaspora’’, saying the plan is to make Jamaica “a place you can come back, if necessary, to raise your children and – possibly – your children’s children. But also, it must be a Jamaica in which you can be free to retire in comfort and style, with all the amenities of entertainment, healthcare, security, because it would have been a prosperous, well-organized first world Jamaica, thanks to you in the Diaspora’’.
A “first world Jamaica’’ is “possible in our lifetime’’, said Holness
“It is not just a pipedream. It is a tangible achievement. It is a mission that I hold close to my heart and an objective that I will continue to work towards,’’ she added.