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State Minister Pearnel Charles Jr. addresses Peace Corps volunteers on Tuesday, May 22 at the Collin Powell Plaza in Manor Park.


Twenty-Nine (29) volunteers of the United States Peace Corps (PCV) were officially sworn in on Tuesday, May 22, after they made their pledges at the Collin Powell Plaza in Manor Park.
While motivating and encouraging the spirit of volunteerism, Senator the Honourable Pearnel Charles Jr., State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, in his speech reminded the volunteers that “the core of being here is to move and stretch beyond the normal.”

Senator Charles reminisced that while attending university, he had the opportunity to interact with a specific ward at a nursing home, sharing that the experience deepened his insight.
“I thought I was there to help the patient but it is he who helped me. I learned so many things from him as he recited several verses and powerful poems to impart his guidance and knowledge. Human interaction through volunteerism builds you, it built me,” HMOS Charles shared.

The State Minister encouraged the volunteers to “ensure you learn, receive and give back,” as he noted that “Jamaica is a wonderful island with great traditions and a bold face to the world.”

The Swearing–in Ceremony saw participation from Paul Sully, Peace Corps Country Director; Sandra Anderson-McClymont, Training Director; Eric Khant Chargé d’ Affaires at the Embassy of the United States of America; Maura Barry-Boyle, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission; the Early Break Band from St. Richards Primary; the volunteers themselves, Roma Roach, Project Partner St. Elizabeth Parish Agricultural Cooperation Society and others.

The ceremony which follows ten and a half weeks of pre-service training and immersion into the Jamaican culture, language and other subtleties in the Hellshire and Highgate environs, represents the volunteers’ launch into their two-year sojourn as PCVs in Jamaica.

Tracing the Jamaica/Peace Corps partnership to its February 1962 beginnings, Senator Charles expressed appreciation as he observed that, “the projects undertaken by the Corps are fully aligned with and supportive of Jamaica’s development efforts in critical areas such as education, youth, health, the environment, agriculture, rural development and small enterprise development.”
This year’s US PCVs will be concentrating on Education and Environment. Some will therefore be assigned to 16 agricultural institutions and associations, across the island, whilst others will be assigned to thirteen (13) primary and early childhood educational institutions.