By Lt. Governor Anthony Brown
Governor O’Malley and I recognize that diversity is our greatest strength, and there is no limit to what we can achieve when we commit to working together. Over the course of our nearly six years in office, we have launched numerous commissions to give a greater voice to diverse constituencies throughout our State.
Earlier today, I was honored to participate as the Governor signed an executive order creating a commission to help represent the issues of a group very close to my heart: Maryland’s Caribbean community.
My father came to America from Jamaica to escape poverty and pursue the American Dream. He was able to receive a high quality education and became a doctor, serving some of the poorest residents in our community.
Many members of the Caribbean community in Maryland have similar stories and are giving back to our State in meaningful ways. As I traveled around the State meeting with members of the Caribbean community, from Jamaicans to Barbadians to Trinidadians and Tobagonians, it became clear to me that more could be done to infuse our State’s cultural tapestry with the best of our Caribbean heritage.
With Maryland’s Caribbean population growing rapidly, I raised with the Governor the need to increase outreach, public awareness, and education about key issues for the community.
By creating the Governor’s Commission on Caribbean Affairs – the first in Maryland’s history – we have made it clear that the issues that are important to our Caribbean population will be addressed at the highest levels of our Administration.
The Commission will expand outreach to engage individuals and organizations in the Caribbean community and help them form partnerships with State government in promoting our shared social, cultural, and business interests.
I am very grateful that Ambassador Curtis A. Ward, a Montgomery County resident and former Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations Security Council, has agreed to chair the Commission. He brings to this role a wealth of knowledge about the needs of Maryland’s Caribbean population.
Ambassador Ward will be joined by eight fellow commission members, reflecting the diverse ancestry and national origins of Maryland’s Caribbean community, representing different geographic regions in the State, and providing expertise on issues important to the State’s Caribbean population.
All Marylanders benefit by embracing those who wish to contribute to our State. I look forward to working with the Governor’s Commission on Caribbean Affairs to ensure that, like my father, members of the Caribbean community have the opportunity to succeed and thrive in Maryland.