Story Highlights AJA’s gesture of awarding scholarships adds significance to Jamaica’s Independence celebrations AJA lauded for its positive influence on Jamaicans from its scholarship awards programme The Prime Minister’s message was contained in the AJA’s Independence Ball and Scholarship Awards Journal Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has praised the United States-based Atlanta-Jamaica Association (AJA) on the positive influence it continues to have on Jamaicans benefitting from its scholarship awards programme.In a message, contained in the AJA’s Independence Ball and Scholarship Awards Journal, to guests attending the function at the Marriott Atlanta Airport Gateway, College Park, Georgia, on August 10, the Prime Minister said it is opportunities like those from the AJA, coupled with hard work and dedication by the recipients, that will result in lasting and positive improvements in the lives of Jamaicans, both individually and collectively, as a nation.“When a celebration such as this (Independence) is combined with a meaningful humanitarian cause which serves to advance independence in people’s lives, it is not just one of special delight, but it assumes greater importance,” she contended.Mrs. Simpson Miller said the AJA’s gesture of awarding scholarships to deserving students, adds significance to Jamaica’s Independence celebrations. She noted that the awards have and will continue to provide meaningful opportunities for the recipients to independently chart a course to shaping their destinies.“Independence is not confined to political freedom, important though it is; but is also about pursuing a path to sustained economic growth and personal enrichment. It is about equipping ourselves with the tools and necessary resources for lasting and ongoing benefit,” she said, adding that the scholarships, will also “serve to cultivate and nurture ongoing and lasting linkages between Jamaicans at home and abroad.”In his remarks, AJA President, Errol Ritchie, said commemoration of Jamaica’s 51st year of independence is a call for Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora to unite in celebrating the accomplishments of their beloved homeland. This, while acknowledging prevailing and likely challenges, and the need for a positive approach to collectively finding solutions.The AJA, along with the Tropical Sports Club, awarded two scholarship awards Kristin Henry and Desiree Watkis, students attending the University of Georgia. The 2013 AJA President’s Award for Outstanding Community Service went to co-founder of Golden Krust Bakery and Grill, Jacqueline Hawthorne Robinson.Jamaica’s former Honorary Consul to Atlanta, Vin Martin, was also honoured by the association for over sixteen years of dedicated service.