Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen has applauded Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for a sixty-year reign marked by peace and goodwill. He was speaking on Tuesday (March 6) at an official dinner held at King’s House in honour of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales (Prince Harry) who is visiting Jamaica for the first time on Her Majesty’s behalf, and on the occasion of Her Diamond Jubilee.
“We join other countries of the Realm in celebrating and saluting Her Majesty for an illustrious reign, that has been marked by peace and has fostered goodwill among nations and peoples,” the Governor-General said.
Sir Patrick Allen said the fraternal relationship between Jamaica and Britain has been beneficial and there was every confidence that this will continue. He said mutual respect and an appreciation of respective contribution to each other’s advancement has been the hallmark of diplomatic relations between both countries. He stated that long before the creation of a Jamaican Diaspora community in Britain, Jamaicans have been making their contribution to that country.
“There were well over 10,000 Jamaicans between the ages of 19 and 25 who served as volunteers in the Great War of 1914-1918 and Jamaicans from all walks of life enlisted in the Military, Air Force and the Navy in World War ll,” the Governor-General said. “In fact, Jamaica was the first British Colony to respond to the call of the late Sir Winston Churchill for members of the Empire to fight for the Mother Country,” he added.
Sir Patrick Allen also noted that after World War ll hundreds of Jamaicans journeyed to London on the SS Empire Windrush to help rebuild Britain’s infrastructure. He said that with respect to culture the Jamaican community has made its own unique contribution to British society with its own brand of music, exotic foods, vibrant dialect and religion, all of which have added to the rich cultural diversity that Britain enjoys today.
In recent years Jamaica has received special attention from Britain through several bilateral programmes and initiatives including the Prince of Wales Trust, which has funded the Rose Town Regeneration Programme. Prince Charles has made several visits to Jamaica to further the work of this charity which has targeted urban renewal, improvement of local governance, skills training, entrepreneurship and job creation, among others.
In his response Prince Henry said Jamaica is “truly an exciting place to be.” He said the vibrancy, vigor and welcoming nature of its people makes the country unique. Prince Henry said Her Majesty was grateful for the heartfelt way in which Jamaicans have embraced her Diamond Jubilee and noted that Jamaica has a special place in the heart of the British Royal family
His Royal Highness Prince Henry arrived in Jamaica on Monday March 5 for a four-day official visit and is a guest of Their Excellencies Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen at King’s House. On Tuesday Their Excellencies also accompanied Prince Henry on his visits to the Bustamante Hospital for Children and the Victoria Jubilee Hospital.