US Jamaicans say Colin Powell was a symbol of the successful immigrant storyTuesday, October 19, 2021
BY HAROLD G BAILEY
NEW YORK, USA — The pall of gloom which descended yesterday over the Jamaican communities across the United States was palpable, as news hit home that an illustrious son of Jamaican parents and a symbol of the successful immigrant story had passed.
The Diaspora reacted with shock over the death of the revered General Colin Powell, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the first black US secretary of state who stirred pride among Caribbean migrants well beyond Jamaica.
“He was the embodiment of all that was good and honest,” said Irwin Clare Sr, one of the most recognised Jamaican activists and head of Team Jamaica Bickle and the Caribbean Immigration Services which he uses as his base.
“Colin Powell was an individual who contributed to all facets of life which touched the Jamaican community here and his death is a sad loss for all of us,” said Clare, who can often be found wearing his Jamaican colours of black, green and gold.
Dr Karren Dunkley, the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council representative for the north-east in the US, remembered Powell as a “remarkable individual and public servant, a true son of the soil of Jamaica, a hero and a true representative of the Diaspora. His passing is a sad moment for all of us”, added Dunkley who also had high praise for Powell's commitment to his duties while he occupied high offices in different US Administrations, and the manner in which he approached and carried out those duties.
Dr Allan Cunningham of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council for the USA Southern Region, which covers 13 states, said: “Colin Powell served his country with distinction and, as a descendant of Jamaicans, was a true depiction of our people.”
Ronnie Hammick, who heads the Brooklyn-based Ex-Correctional Officers Association of Jamaica, was also among those saddened by Powell's death, noting that “he was someone who made us all proud to be Jamaicans”.
In his tribute, Hammick described Powell's service to his country and the dignity and grace in which he executed his duties as “impeccable and unblemished”.
President of the Jamaica Progressive League, Sadie Campbell said Powell had “set a standard which is worthy of emulation, and his achievements were remarkable at a time which was considered tough”.
Campbell said that Powell's death from COVID-19 complications reflected how serious the novel coronavirus is. “It is another reminder that people need to take the virus seriously and do whatever that has to be done to keep themselves and others around them safe,” she urged.
Ewan M Peart, president of the Jamaica Ex-Soldiers Association, also spoke of his “deep sadness”over Powell's death, saluting “his rise through the American military to reach its very apex”.
He also expressed “sincere condolences to General Powell's family”, telling them that he would always be remembered for his brilliant mind, his courage and humility.
Retired JDF Lt Col Bruce Barclay. who now resides in the US, said he met General Powell on a visit to Jamaica in 1997 when the retired US secretary of state was a member of the Jimmy Carter foundation delegation observing the general elections here.
Barclay was in charge of security and logistics for the visit and he described Powell “as a person of great integrity and a committed and dignified person”.