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JAM Honors Jamaican Diaspora Media Pioneer Larry Sindass

JAM Honors Jamaican Diaspora Media Pioneer Larry Sindass

Ambassador Curtis A. Ward

Amb. Curtis A. Ward

(24 August 2023) — Honoring members of the Jamaican diaspora for their unstinting services, contributions, and values to development of their communities and to their Jamaican homeland during the period of independence celebrations often gets lost in the milieu of events marking the historical achievements of independence. But these honors must be seen as a way for members of the diaspora to say thanks and to encourage and express their appreciation to those individuals, across all levels of diaspora engagement, who have dedicated their time, expertise, and personal resources, to fill a void which would otherwise go unfulfilled.

On Saturday, August 19, 2023, at the annual Independence Gala celebrating Jamaica’s 61st anniversary, held at the Martin’s West, Baltimore, Maryland, the Jamaican Association of Maryland (JAM) awarded Jamaican and Caribbean media pioneer Loriston “Larry” Sindass with the “Marcus Garvey Award”, its highest award, for his services to the Jamaican and Caribbean communities in the United States, the Caribbean, and globally through the work of CaribNation Television, a media entity which Larry created some 27 years ago. Larry’s remarkable service has been recognized throughout the media profession and it was fitting that he be recognized by his community as Jamaicans everywhere, and the nation, celebrate 61 years of independence from colonial rule and 185 years of emancipation from slavery.

Amb. Ward (l) and Amb. Marks (r) present award to Larry Sindass with his wife Dr. Lisa Boynes -Sindass at his side (Derrick Scott photo)

I was privileged, joined by Her Excellency, Ambassador Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, to make the presentation to Larry in the presence of some 400 independence celebrants, including Mrs. Sonia Ward, Maryland Senator Arthur Ellis and Mrs. Ellis, Mrs. Joy Moore, mother of governor Wes Moore, who represented the governor and presented his citation, and leaders of other Jamaican organizations in the Maryland/DC area – Ms. Joy Dufour, president of Partners of Good Shepherd Jamaica, and Dr. Elaine Knight, president of the Jamaican Nationals Association of Washington DC. Also present was a contingent of some 49 members of the West Indian Social Club of Hartford, Connecticut, among whom were two members of the Hartford community, Attorney Tanya T. Dorman, and Ms. Doreen Radway, who were recognized for community services in the Hartford area. Ms. Yvonne Deanne-Hibbert, a reggae music band vocalist and recording artist, received the JAM Cultural Award.

Former Sen. the Hon. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam

Notably, the Jamaican Association of Maryland, co-founded by former Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam and Ricardo “Rick” Nugent, JAM’s president, has been celebrating Jamaican independence with this being its 35th independence gala. In their messages marking the occasion, Gov. Wes Moore, Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown, and Sen. Arthur Ellis, all of Jamaican heritage, referred to the significance of the occasion and JAM’s services to the diaspora community.

(L-R) JAM President Ricardo Nugent, Mrs. Sonia Ward, Amb. Audrey Marks, Amb. Curtis Ward

Gov Moore said, “The history and strength of the island, its people, and the incredible unique culture are an intrinsic part of who I am as a person and as a leader. I am so proud to be Jamaican.” The governor lauded JAM for fostering cultural pride and promoting education, and for advancing services in our communities. “Your dedicated work and leadership have helped strengthen Maryland and is moving us toward a brighter future.” He also said.

Sen. Arthur Ellis addresses JAM’s Independence Gala

Attorney General Brown said, “this celebration embodies the unity, resilience, and rich heritage that define the Jamaican community here in Maryland.” The attorney general also said. “We are proud of our history and our heritage. The values of hard work, service, community, the pursuit of excellence that are ingrained in Jamaican culture are also values I carry in my role as Maryland’s Attorney General. That’s why I will continue to fight for a more fair, just, and equitable Maryland for all.”

Sen. Arthur Ellis, who was born in Portland, Jamaica, said, “Since its inception in 1988, the Jamaican Association of Maryland has worked to carry on the legacy and heritage of Jamaicans in Maryland. This association’s commitment to philanthropy through social, economic, and educational means is truly admirable and deserving of celebration.”

Amb. Audrey Marks addresses JAM’s Independence Gala

Ambassador Marks, in her address to the diaspora attendees, praised JAM as a shining example of a robust, change-making diaspora organization helping to move Jamaicans and Jamaica forward. She complimented the President of the association, Ricardo Nugent, his executive team, and the members of JAM for the remarkable work they are doing in and for the community. One of JAM’s annual projects of note is the annual award scholarships to children of Jamaican diaspora getting ready for college. Ambassador Marks used the occasion also to introduce to the attendees her new program on uplifting male youth in Jamaica who are missing out on a college education. She urged JAM and the Jamaican diaspora to support her initiative, Upliftment, Learning, and Intervention through Foreign Travel (UPLIFT). More on the program later.

Mrs. Joy Moore presented Governor’s citation

As we celebrate our heritage and mark diaspora contribution at home and abroad, we must contemplate on what is most remarkable about Larry’s achievements and his creation of CaribNation TV. He has dedicated his personal resources and expertise to creating a media house whose programs are representative of the Caribbean. The programs are distributed to and aired in 22 countries in the Caribbean region, throughout North America (US and Canada) and Europe. The programs and archives are available globally on CaribNation YouTube channel.

(L-R) Amb. Curtis Ward, Mrs. Sonia Ward, Dr. Lisa Boynes-Sindass, Larry Sindass

Larry is a seven-time Emmy award winner whose work as a News Producer/Chief Editor at the CBS television Station, Channel 9 in Washington DC, has been recognized by his professional media peers. He is also a recipient of the Associated Press Journalist Award, and the prestigious Edward R. Morrow Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Larry attended Clarendon College in Jamaica and, upon graduation from high school, he migrated to the United States to pursue his dream and a career in media, centered on film and the visual arts. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of the District of Columbia (1992) with a degree in Mass Media Art with concentration in Cinematography, and his Master of Arts,  from the American University in Washington DC (AU) (1996) in Film and Video Production. He founded CaribNation TV also in 1996, immediately after graduating from AU, and for the past 27 years he has dedicated his expertise and resources to filling a Caribbean-focused media void in the Jamaican and Caribbean diaspora communities. Despite dedicating so much time in service to the Jamaican and Caribbean communities, Larry still finds time to be a dedicated family man. He is married to Dr. Lisa Boynes-Sindass, an accomplished pediatric physician, and together they have raised their daughter Tatiana.

Attorney Gabriel Christian (r) celebrates with Larry and Lisa

In accepting the award, Larry Sindass shared his perspective and the raison d’etre for CaribNation television. He said CaribNation hosts are passionate about telling the stories about the Caribbean, its people, and culture from a Caribbean perspective. He said, “Too often, we are seeing other people from outside the village telling our stories, and oftentimes the stories they are telling are masked as facts. CaribNation was born of this quagmire.” He said that CaribNation “set out to give Caribbean people the means to tell their stories, staying focused on the facts, staying true to our culture, our collective history, and our diverse people.” In this context, CaribNation has produced over 1100 episodes, on topics covering politics, business, healthcare, tourism, crime and security, justice, education, people profiles, history, and sports. CaribNation has been true to its core motto: One People, One Culture, One Caribbean, One Nation!

POG’s president Joy Dufour (c) with Mrs. Sonia Ward (l) and Dr. Lisa Boynes-Sindass (r)

Despite CaribNation’s extraordinary success and value to the Caribbean community, the media house has no advertisers or sponsors. We must ask why not? It is not for want of trying to attract major Jamaican and Caribbean companies with strong reliance on diaspora consumers of their goods and services on which these companies depend for their economic growth and development. It is not for want of trying to attract Jamaican and Caribbean government agencies such as the Jamaica Tourist Board which spends millions of US dollars each year to advertise and for public relations services which also target the diaspora. This gap in support must be revisited and corrected.

Jamaica’s 61st anniversary of independence was celebrated this year under the theme “Jamaica Proud and Strong.” Indeed, Jamaicans in the diaspora exemplify this experience every day. And this year’s recipient of JAM’s Marcus Garvey Award, Larry Sindass, is an example of the fulfillment of Garvey’s philosophy which entreated us to be a proud and resilient people. And, most of all, exemplifies service to our community, nation, and region.

(c) Curtis A. Ward/The Ward Post

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About the author

Ambassador Curtis A. Ward

Ambassador Curtis A. Ward is a former Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations with Special Responsibility for Security Council Affairs (1999-2002) serving on the UN Security Council for two years. He served three years as Expert Adviser to the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee. He is an Attorney-at-Law and International Consultant with extensive knowledge and experience in national and international legal and policy frameworks for effective implementation of United Nations (UN) and other international anti-terrorism mandates; the legal and administrative requirements to effectively implement and enforce anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT); extensive knowledge of the legal and regulatory requirements for effective implementation and enforcement of United Nations multilateral and U.S.-imposed unilateral sanctions; and the imperatives for Rule of Law and governance. He is a geopolitical and international security analyst, and a human rights, democracy, and anticorruption advocate.

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