Jamaican Irwine Clare, Sr. OD., philanthropist, immigration advocate and Diaspora power-house will be honored Wednesday with the Global Spotlight Award by the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AMCHAM) at the group’s annual Business and Civic Leadership Award at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
“I am extremely humbled and appreciative as recipient of the Global Spotlight Award from AMCHAM in this (its) 30th anniversary year and while we celebrate Jamaica 55,” said Queens resident Clare. “I am grateful to be included in this auspicious list of titans and thank all who have accorded me the privilege of their support and goodwill throughout the years.
Andrea Daley of Caribbean Media Marketing, Inc. (CMM), said Clare, who was conferred with Order of Distinction (OD) in 2012, by the government of Jamaica, for his “invaluable contribution to Jamaicans in the Diaspora,” is “no stranger to accolades and has been honored many times over for his sterling contribution in so many areas locally and abroad.
“His body of work is impressive and speaks to why he is known as Mr. Diaspora,’” Daley said. “He has been a man of the people from his early years in Jamaica, having honed his skills as student council leader at his high school, York Castle, as well as through various leadership initiatives led by the government. He had a tremendous example in his mother, who was a leader and advocate in the community of Bamboo, St. Ann, where he grew up.
Daley said Clare is “the man behind Team Jamaica Bickle,” the organization that hosts Caribbean athletes at the annual Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.
“Some 23 years ago, he saw the need to offer assistance to these athletes by providing amenities designed to make their stay while they are away from home, representing school and country more comfortable,” she said. “After his trademark outreach to community stakeholders and members, Team Jamaica Bickle was born and enjoys widespread support of the community.
“The organization, a beacon of volunteerism and community, has grown to be the anchor at these relays to over 600 athletes not just from Jamaica but [from]Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Guyana, among others, as well as US-based athletes at these relays,” she added. “Athletes receive three warm meals daily, ground transportation, assistance with hotel bookings, medical and chiropractic care.”
Over the 23 years, Daley said the organization has raised over $US2.5 million dollars for the program, adding, however, that the value to athletes, coaches and schools extend far beyond that.
Today, Daley said Team Jamaica Bickle receives calls from numerous sporting bodies, enroute to the US, for assistance with their traveling needs and has assisted many.
“Through his vision Team Jamaica Bickle has grown beyond just providing services at the Penn Relays but has expanded its reach into other areas to ensure the safety and well-being of athletes,” she said. “The ‘Defibrillator to Schools’ program was initiated after the death of two students athletes in competition to provide a first line of emergency medical response for athletes.”
To date 31 schools in Jamaica have benefited from the program, Daley said.
But she said Clare’s “stellar work and track record began several years before.”
Daley said he has been “on the frontline of Diaspora activism for decades, particularly in immigration work, advocating tirelessly for Caribbean immigrants in the United States to attain legal status.
“Through awareness drives in partnership with numerous community leaders, churches and community organizations, his Caribbean Immigrant Services has assisted thousands in attaining citizenship – a move which has helped to empower and strengthen Diaspora communities across the United States,” she said.
“Always one for public service, Irwine transitioned fully and effortlessly into the kind of work that best suits his vast skills, expertise and love of community after a brief but fulfilling career in banking, where he rose to the level of vice president of Bank Leumi in New York,” she added. “As tireless and as he is passionate, he has used his enormous reach to varying degrees for the greater good of his people. His work has ranged from assistance in policy making to serving in various capacities with numerous local and governmental organizations.”
Daley said Clare has advised several politicians, including Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, Yvette Clarke, Gregory Meeks on Caribbean issues, and remains one of the Caribbean Diaspora’s spokesperson on such matters.
She said Clare currently serves as convener for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Diaspora Forum, an event held annually in New York, during Caribbean Tourism Week.
Daley said Clare was recently appointed to the Advisory Board of the University College of the Caribbean (UCC). Additionally, he is a former Advisory Board Member for the Jamaican Diaspora USA, Northeast; is a founding member of the Union of Jamaica Alumni Association (UJAA) and has served as board member. He also served as president of the Jamaica Progressive League.
Daley said Clare is also broadcaster for the past several years on one of the Diaspora’s leading radio platforms in New York, Irie Jam Radio.