Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board Members Speak Up on the Creation of a Global Jamaica Diaspora Council
FLORIDA – Since July 2017 we have had discussions in at least eight formal Diaspora Advisory Board meetings, collaboration among all the Board members and Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, in addition to Jamaican Diaspora Communities across the world culminating in the creation of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (“Council”) which is slated to be launched in January 2020 through a process of elections and appointment process.
This necessitated and included all the current Board Members participation and agreement on the Council and the Terms of Reference and was finally accomplished on June 16th, 2019.
Our last Board meeting of October 17th, 2019 where notably the Board member for the North East United States absented herself, dealt with making sure all eligible diaspora in all regions would be able to participate in the election process for the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council.
All present Board members ratified and agreed on actions to be taken execute our obligation to ensure proper preparation for Elections to the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council and to make certain no region was disenfranchised from participating.
At this juncture, there should be absolutely no confusion about the role of each of the Council Members to be elected or appointed.
Any such representation of confusion or lack of clarity by any board member would be at the very least disingenuous and or demonstrate a dereliction of responsibility to their community to explain their role and what exactly that Board member had agreed to and committed to supporting during board meetings.
For any one truly confused or interested in the real commitment of their Board Member, the record is there to prove the commitment and agreement to move the plans for the Council forward.
In July 2019, any confused Board member was also given the opportunity to go back to their own region to clarify or seek clarification of the expectations of their community and report back with specificity those, if any who need clarity.
To date, with the exception of the Southern USA region (who provided the name of one individual) no specific individual or entity has been named by any other Board member.
All current Board members should have been au fait with their role and responsibilities, both in advising the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and knowing the pulse of their entire region and not just a few usual dependable detractors and purveyors of negative distraction over the last 14 years.
As a matter of record, each Board member was charged with and agreed to the responsibility of communicating their exact role as Board member at every opportune time as necessary.
Each Board member has had at least two years to communicate that to the interested persons or organization in their region.
The specific role of the elected Council member has not contracted in comparison to the role of the Advisory Board Member. The Council represents an expansion of the Advisory Board.
All Board members know this as they were direct participants in the creation of both the revised Terms of Reference for the Advisory Board and the new Terms of Reference for the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council.
The Council represents an expansion of engagement within the Diaspora to include new and emerging regions where Jamaicans live right across the globe.
The members of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council will collectively continue to be an advisory and consultative body to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade that will create pathways for increased engagement with the Diaspora.
This process was long, transparent and arduous and the Board Member as well the Council member be charged with direct engagement with their community.
There is no restriction on their level of engagement, however it is clear that at no point they should present themselves as political representative or controlling any seat of power.
One clear responsibility of Advisory Board Members pursuant to Terms of Reference has been to collaborate to have elections in the regions. If that Board member refuses such, they cannot be forced to fulfill their obligation.
A responsible Board Member should not abdicate this responsibility out of strategy to derail elections, however if such responsibility has been so abdicated then the process moves on by Board consensus without that Board member.
There should be no ambiguity that eligible voting members of the Diaspora should not be disenfranchised by the inaction of a Board Member. Board members all pledged to adhere to a code of conduct.
Board members have a responsibility to make sure that the election process moves forward and is not derailed or thwarted by those who refuse to be properly informed or want to purposely misinform our Diaspora community by nefarious means.
It is disingenuous to claim that consultations were limited to just a few members of the Diaspora. The methodology that was used for consulting with the Diaspora in developing the new policy framework and structure is transparent and available for examination.
There are clears terms of reference which explains who will chair the Council and the selection and appointment of Council Members.
It is clear that persons who are raising these issues have failed to do their due diligence or are willfully blinded by their own personal agendas.
Disagreements can be genuine but sabotage, propaganda and misinformation wraps disagreement in unclean hands.
Board members are expected to work to build and expand Jamaica Diaspora engagement not to destroy all the sacrificial gains and efforts made by Diasporans to bring us to the table to participate in shaping policy as it relates to our island nation.
Our Diaspora movement is admired and emulated by the world.
No one person under the shroud of support from unnamed, faceless supporters should be permitted to attempt to exclude Diasporans from participation in elections for the members of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council.
Persons are conflating issues of representation of Council Members and clearly have not examined the proposed roles of members and the fact that they are not restricted in any way to use a consultative process to engage with either their region or colleagues depending on their area of specialty.
Fear of power grabbing is baseless.
The narrative being promoted by those who now are clearly waging their own campaign against the establishment of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council is divisive and counterproductive.
We the current Advisory Board Members serving the United Kingdom, Canada, the Southern United States and the West/Midwest United States of America endorse without reservation the Global Jamaica Council of the Terms of Reference and the elections and appointment process.
There is no credible discontent as reported, don’t believe the unsubstantiated and unvetted commentaries. Check out all the publicly available documentation. Diasporans are united around the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council.
The Diaspora will never allow partisan politics to enter our arena. We have carried out our responsibility to collaborate with our Jamaica’s Overseas Missions to establish Electoral Committees in all the regions of Canada, UK and the United States.
We look forward to the continued and deeper partnership with Jamaica and Jamaicans wherever we are in the world.
We respect and appreciate the opportunity to be builders of consensus and refuse to be purveyors of distrust and division in our Diaspora environs.
“Let’s not kick over the bucket after we have milked the cow”.
Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board Members
Wayne C. Golding Sr. CD, JD. Southern USA email@example.com
Dr. Rupert Francis-West/Mid-West USA firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Sylvanus Thompson-Canada Sylvanus.Thompson@toronto.ca
Ms. Yvette Blackburn – Canada email@example.com
Mr. Fitzroy Grant-United Kingdom firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Tanesha Westcarr- United Kingdom (Youth Leader) email@example.com