New website to be launched as Jamaican Diaspora efforts unfold

In an effort to continue its communication network with the Jamaican Diaspora, locally and overseas, the Jamaican Government will launch its website, on Wednesday, March 23.

This was announced by Senator Delano Franklyn, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade at a recent town hall meeting at the Miramar City Hall, Miramar, South Florida.

The Minister reiterated that Government was continuing its efforts to strengthen the relationship with Jamaicans in the Diaspora and the creation of the website was just one of the many networks to be established in this regard.

According to Senator Franklyn several activities would be celebrated to commemorate the efforts of Jamaicans and their contributions through the Ministry and its overseas Missions as well as community organizations in those areas.

Arising out of last year’s conference, was the appointment of a seven-member advisory board of Jamaican nationals overseas, to work with the Minister to formulate strategies that would best serve the overseas communities. South Florida attorney, Dahlia Walker-Huntington was selected as the representative in the Southeast United States.

Elaborating on other efforts to continue ongoing dialogue within the Diaspora, the Minister also mentioned the establishment of the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation to be chaired by Professor, the Hon. Rex Nettleford, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies. This organization will be responsible for the ‘oversight of formal operations to keep the channels of communication effective among the Diaspora’, he continued.

At the two-day conference held last June in Kingston, some 400 Jamaican nationals including 300 from overseas communities in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom convened to establish ways in which linkages could be strengthened among Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora.

The Minister reiterated to his audience that the Government intended ‘to recognize and treat seriously the relationship with nationals overseas – no different from to your presence at home’.

He noted the ongoing commitment and contributions of Jamaicans to their island home. To further reinforce those efforts, the linkages created through the work of the Diaspora committees would include stakeholders such as corporations, international and national agencies and more significantly the role of returning residents and friends and supporters with an interest in the country’s national development.

According to the Minister, plans were ahead for next year’s conference to be held in Kingston which he said, resulted from a proposal put forward at last June’s conference for a bi-annual National Diaspora conference.

In an effort to broaden the base of participation, he encouraged the nationals to be involved in all activities held in respective communities towards positive and economic development of Jamaica. He encouraged nationals to maintain contact with the local Jamaican missions as well as through the Diaspora projects.

Regarding other issues brought forward at the town hall forum, Senator Franklyn Addressed the audience concern of increase in the wave of crime and violence in Jamaica. He agreed that the Government’s efforts could not be successful unless the US demand for drugs and ammunition were addressed from this end.

Meanwhile, he noted that other areas of crime had been reduced while Government was making a concerted effort to reduce the rate of homicide facing the country.

Looking at the nature and brutality of some of the homicides, Senator Franklyn said that the government was faced with the challenge of looking at ‘what had caused the transformation in our people,’ and called on all Jamaicans to be involved and support the efforts in place to eliminate the wave of crime and violence by providing the necessary information to security forces even through the overseas communities, and more importantly establishing a sense of national pride even throughout the Diaspora.

Simultaneously, he spoke of ongoing efforts to engage the assistance of international aid as well as advances in forensic investigation and intelligence.

In outlining development in the area of trade and investment, Senator Franklyn said that the recent Jamaica/Chinese trade talks were successful. In this regard, the expected demand from China should increase bauxite production, while Government was seeking to diversify the energy mix, through the introduction of natural gas.

Looking at the relationship with the United States, Minister Franklyn said that CARICOM would continue to work in the interest of Jamaica and other Caribbean developing countries for differential and preferential treatment.
Also addressing the audience of nationals and supporters were Jamaica’s Consul General to the Southeast USA, Ricardo Allicock and Diaspora Advisory Board member, Mrs. Dahlia Walker-Huntington.

The event was chaired by City Commissioner of Miramar, Mr. Winston Barnes, also a Jamaican national.

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