The 9th Annual Reunion & Awards Banquet was held on 19th June 2010 at the DeKalb Technical College Conference Center. This was a departure from previous years when the event was routinely held at a local hotel. The thinking this year was that we needed to have more control over the atmosphere and the offerings that were generally dictated by the hotel strictures. It is definitely a work in progress and many of our objectives fell short. Nevertheless, the feeling of the board of directors is that with some tweaking and adjustments, this format certainly has the potential to successfully harness significant surplus revenue in the future.
The Reunion provided the association with the opportunity to recognize two worthy individuals, coincidentally both of whom are medical doctors and K.C. Old Boys Drs. Frederick “Buddy” McIntosh and Ray Fraser were our Guests of Honor and both were honored for dedicated medical services in Jamaica and in the case of the former Canada as well. Dr. McIntosh was instrumental in starting the Toronto Chapter in 1973 and continues to play a significant role in its myriad activities aimed at generating funds for projects at Kingston College. Dr. Fraser is the current president of the Jamaica Chapter and is pivotal to its re-vitalized efforts to address the significant needs at the College.
Guest speaker for the night was Dr. Basil Waine Kong whose initial remarks, replete with the Jamaican vernacular, had those in attendance unable to control their laughter. His subsequent serious delivery reminded all of the dire straits that Jamaica had entered, with violent crimes threatening the existence of a civil society. Despite this reality, Dr. Kong cited himself as an example of what was possible by expatriate Jamaicans returning home to make positive contributions. His take was that Jamaica still represented glorious investment opportunities, as the signs were there for an economic renaissance and “what better time to take advantage of such inevitable change”. He ended by calling on all expatriate Jamaicans to remember their roots and to never turn their backs on Jamaica.
A special and new feature of this year’s Reunion was a Silent Auction of prints by renowned Jamaican artists, including Barrington Watson, Michael Escoffery, ‘Kapo’, Edna Manley, just to name a few. The prints generated much interest and several attendees competed for them via a bidding process. The KCOBA board of directors plans to keep the Silent Auction component and improve upon how the prints are assembled and displayed.
The event ended at around 2:00 AM on Father’s Day, but not before patrons enjoyed themselves musically to the sounds of the irrepressible DJ Tony Randall. Much appreciation and thanks are extended to all who made the event possible.