Special Guest Speaker, Jamaica High Commissioner for the UK, His Excellency Mr. Seth George Ramocan, said: “It’s about where Jamaica is and for you to be a part of it,” as he spoke to the specially invited audience at the ‘Jamaica Evening’ at the H Suite in Birmingham.
“It warms my heart to see Jamaica’s unity in strength,” he said, “especially seeing it in work here. Seeing the work tonight’s organiser, Dean Alexander, and his mom, Dr. Beverly Lindsey, do in this city warms my heart.”
H.E Ramocan was speaking as the gathered guests; who included the likes of the founder and CEO of Caribbean food producer Cleone Foods Wade Lyn CBE, TPN Media’s own Founder/Managing Editor Marcia McLaughlin, Dr. Beverly Lindsey OBE OD VLL, Leighton Smith who is Chief Representative Officer at Victoria Mutual Finance Limited, former Aston Villa, Liverpool, Rangers and England footballer Mark Walters and many more.
Lets not forget that Beverly Lindsay OBE OD VLL and Diamond Travel have been championing Jamaica and the Caribbean as destinations for both tourism and investment for a number of years now. The Caribbean Evening was created about 6 years ago to promote Diamond Travel, and to give back to their loyal customers and and was started at the Birmingham Community Association.
The first time had over 300 people, then it moved to the Drum, then Aston Villa, and last year was to celebrate Diamond Travel’s 30th year of business, done with Virgin Atlantic to give back to the community that supported them.
Hosted by Tony Marshall – receptionist Noel Garcia in the hit BBC TV drama Casualty – everyone present was at pains to take in what the High Commissioner was addressing, especially in light of the current ‘Windrush Generation’ issue which has itself found a ‘casualty’ following the resignation of the government’s Home Secretary, Amber Rudd.
“Jamaica is the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean,’” Ramocan said. ”There are more Jamaicans outside of the country than ever before.” The topic of crime in the country was also raised by the High Commissioner and addressed, informing the audience exactly how the country was cleaning up problem areas.
A prominent presence on the night was Victoria Mutual Finance Limited, with Leighton Smith, highlighting the investment opportunities on the Caribbean island; “Take a look at Jamaica…” he said, “…and you will fall in love with it.
“Jamaica is much more than a holiday – it’s a great investment.
“There’s a massive amount of foreign investment moving into the country and, as it is going, within 10 years or so, there probably would not be any land available to take on. That is why we, Jamaica’s first financial port-hold, are here – to help you with your investment – on your land.
“It’s about making Jamaica financially independent.”
He marked up Stonebrook Manor, in Falmouth and Phoenix Park in Montego Bay, as highly appreciable property venues – for anywhere from the equivalent of £40,000 to £135,000 – before introducing a representative from the acclaimed Moreland Developments with highly sought-after property in Mandeville. It was refreshing to hear from someone making investment opportunities sound so sexy, especially at the prices that were quoted, enticing many in the room to take to their phones to make notes and bookmark opportunities to look at. St. Elizabeth properties, they made clear, are also soon to come.
For those not quite ready, there, there were opportunities to see the sun, sea and golden sands of Jamaica, on the night, with a luxury 7-day holiday to Moon Palace, on offer through a raffle draw.
George Ruddock from the Jamaica Gleaner sent a message to the Jamaican Community to continue its support for an institution like the Gleaner. He proudly spoke of the biggest selling front page news story they had had in recent times from two years ago, and how the paper will evolve looking to the future.
EastEnders star, Rudolf Walker, was also a very prominent presence as he highlighted the fight against one of the world’s greatest killers; prostate cancer. “Black men, especially,” he said, “must know the risk. ‘Conversation’ saves lives and men need to open up and talk more about this issue – It can save yours, or someone else’s, life.”
On the night there was also a presentation on diabetes by Tony Kelly of Diabetes UK, a well known supporter, and probably one of the best at spreading the news about diabetes prevention and maintenance – before, on a lighter note, limbo dancing and music from Steel Pulse legend, Basil Gabbidon and Friends, made for this, the fifth Jamaica and Friends Dinner, probably the best yet.