The Diaspora: Jamaican and Caribbean

By Gerald V. Paul

Sean Mason and Don Wehby, V.P and CEO of Western Union Caribbean, chat with P.J Patterson, former prime minister of Jamaica.  Photo by Gerald V. Paul.
Sean Mason and Don Wehby, V.P and CEO of Western Union Caribbean, chat with P.J Patterson, former prime minister of Jamaica.
Photo by Gerald V. Paul.

Eyes is working on covering the sixth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference 2015, convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade from June 13 to 18 at Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

The keynote address will be delivered by the prime minister of Jamaica – for this conference Portia Simpson Miller will do the honours.

And there will be a call to action for Diaspora members to be promoters and protectors of the Global Brand and builders of Brand Jamaica.

Also, it will be time to engage the Caribbean Diaspora via Garnett Manning Youth and Leadership Foundation (GMYLF), Guyana-born businessman and humanitarian John Persaud’s vision, mission and value to do good, communicate and make a difference in the world.

Jamaican-born Manning who served as a Brampton city councilor told The Camera “this is what we are called to do: enter to worship and leave to serve. Making a difference and leaving a legacy.”

Manning was appreciative that the “the Diaspora Day of Service culminating that week has been significantly broadened to encourage Jamaican organizations and individuals overseas to develop and execute community projects of their choosing, anywhere in Jamaica, and offer their time, skills and resources.”

Manning and Persaud are looking forward to a productive conference and are hoping the ideas will be able to assist the wider Caribbean Diaspora family.

In an earlier interview with Jamaica Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Arnaldo Brown, Eyes was told the theme Legacy Partners conference – including  GraceKennedy, Jamaica National, and Victoria Mutual  – is “Jamaica and the Diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity.”

Brown said the conference will focus on investment and trade opportunities plus social services, health and education.

This conference is highlighting business, trade and investment, philanthropy, social investment, Diaspora diplomacy and youth engagement. Indeed, the program is shaped to give greater emphasis to the mutual benefits to Jamaica and its Diaspora and extending the global reach to the Diaspora consistent with the new Diaspora policy development.

According to Brown, “We remain committed to Jamaica’s vision of a mutually beneficial alliance with Jamaica abroad, placing equal emphasis on social investment, on health, education and community development and ways to expand Diaspora contributions and involvement as individuals and organized groups and business investment to explore specific opportunities large and small.”

Another key emphasis is engaging with young people of Jamaican decent in an effort to nurture their involvement in the country’s affairs and make possible tangible connections with other young people in Jamaica.

In addition to the conference is the Special Symposium on Immigration and deportation, slated for Wednesday, June 17. This is against the background of the draft Migration and Development Policy.

And a conference staple, the Diaspora Day of Service held the final day, has been expanded to include island-wide Diaspora outreach missions in the medical, entrepreneurial or social investment fields. To this end, there will be a special waver for medical equipment coming into the island for the expanded Diaspora Day of Service.

There will also be a repeat of another conference staple, Government At Your Service, in which 11 government departments and agencies offer at-conference turn-around time for personal and business documents services.

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Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul