Ambassador to the United States (US), His Excellency Stephen Vasciannie and his wife, Lisa, were among over 200 diplomats who attended the inauguration ceremony for the US President, Barak Obama, on January 21.Ambassador Vasciannie told JIS News that he was deeply honoured to represent the people and government of Jamaica and to witness this moment in the history of the United States. “The re-election of President Obama is an important sign of democratic continuity and the affirmation of certain important historical trends in American. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller has sent unequivocal and warm congratulations to President Obama and I take the opportunity to reiterate them today,” he said.The Jamaican envoy noted that Jamaica has had strong links with the United States of America since independence.At the time of the presentation of the Ambassador’s Letters of Credence, in August 2012, President Obama referred to these strong links, pointing out that in addition to trade, investment and security matters, Jamaica provided a unique venue for tourists from the USA.It is estimated that more than 2 million Jamaicans live in the United States of America.
The Canadian PressVICTORIA – British Columbia’s independent children’s watchdog says the province needs more social workers to protect vulnerable children.Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says the province has fewer social workers now compared to 13 years ago and that the government must hire more by boosting funding for the Children’s Ministry.Turpel-Lafond concludes in her report that consistent failures within the ministry mean it has failed to meet its own standards to protect children.Her report comes as the government is under fire after two suicides of teenagers who were in its care.The report was released on the same day that the B.C. Government and Services Employees Union (BCGSEU) issued its own report criticizing government support of social workers in Aboriginal child service agencies.The BCGSEU report says the province’s Aboriginal child welfare system must be completely overhauled, noting that the system to aid aboriginal children, youth and families is culturally unsuitable, underfunded and understaffed.Meanwhile, B.C.’s newly appointed senior adviser on Aboriginal child welfare has added his voice to those of other influential First Nations leaders calling for an untainted investigation into the death of Alex Gervais.Grand Chief Edward John is one of the signatories to a letter from the First Nations Leadership Council, demanding an independent probe of the 18-year-old’s death while in government care at an Abbotsford hotel.The letter says recent comments from Premier Christy Clark make it impossible for the children’s ministry to conduct an impartial review.The leadership council wants children’s representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to conduct the investigation.