By Gerald V. Paul
“We must rescue our young people,” an impassioned Lloyd Wilks, Jamaican consul general to Toronto, told the welcome reception of the country’s new high commissioner to Canada Tuesday evening.
Speaking at the Jamaican Canadian Centre where Janice Miller was being introduced, Wilks, a career diplomat with more than 25 years in the Jamaican Foreign Service, addressed young people, saying, “I want to help you in building bridges. Let’s connect.”
He called for young people to be brought into organizations, given leadership roles and let them pursue their calling. “We must rescue our youth. I implore you. Take heed.”
Wilks also stressed the need for youth to obtain Canadian citizenship and vote. “If you don’t have your citizenship, how can you vote?”
Quoting from Jamaica’s Home of All Right Guide, Wilks said: “From each morning’s glorious sunrise until the sea swallows the sun at night. Jamaica presents a magnificent palette of colour, a kaleidoscope of beauty that makes our island the most precious jewel in the Caribbean.
“We are a land of unique experiences, engaging activities, breathtaking landscapes and a warm, welcoming people. We are the social and cultural hub of the Caribbean.”
Miller, who served as under secretary in the Ministry of Multilateral Affairs, is a career diplomat with more than 17 years experience in the Jamaican Foreign Service.
She spoke to the gathering about the Jamaican economy and the Vision 2030 Foundation pillars for Jamaica as the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.
Miller reminded the audience of the Jamaica Investment Forum, March 10-12 in Montego Bay Conference Centre, St. James, Jamaica and the Sixth Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference, June 13-18 at the same venue.
Miller and Wilks spoke of the Mapping Jamaica Diaspora, a project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration. Wilks is the former director of the Diaspora and Consular Affairs Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
The mapping exercise sees members of the Diaspora taking an online survey to collect information on skills that exist in the Diaspora as well as gauging their willingness to contribute to Jamaica’s development.