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UWI to Explore Effects of Environmentally-induced Caribbean Migration

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Migration has shaped the individual and collective destinies of Caribbean and Commonwealth peoples; and, in the ongoing quest for social and economic development, the movement of persons seeking better economic opportunities continues to be a challenge for the governments of developed, small and least developed states.

Against that background, the Ramphal Commission on Migration & Economic Development, which was officially launched in the Caribbean, last year, in collaboration with the University of the West Indies will host a Symposium focusing on “the effects of environmentally-induced migration and issues affecting small and least developed states,” at The University of The West Indies (UWI), on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, at 5:00 p.m.

The Most Hon. P. J. Patterson, Chairman of the Ramphal Commission, and former Prime Minister of Jamaica, explained that the role of the Commission is to develop practical migration and development policies, initially for the 54 states and some 2 billion people in Commonwealth countries, to provide a framework for global action.

Hon. P. J. Patterson

He said that the issues to be discussed at the Symposium would include—brain drain, brain waste and brain circulation; the situation of unskilled migrants and gender issues; as well as, the scope for improving training in destination countries.

“We are committed to steering this powerful movement of peoples to benefit developing countries, and to diminish any disadvantages such migration and development may occasion for those less equipped nations,” he said at the launch event during the CARICOM meeting, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, last year.

The Chairman noted that, as part of the continuing dialogue with Commonwealth institutions, the Mona Symposium on February 22 would help to demonstrate “how a positive relationship between migration, development and the trade in goods and services may be stimulated by governments and the private sector.”

The six speakers who will address different aspects of migration and development are—Professor Verene Shepherd, Professor of Social History & University Director, Institute for Gender Studies (UWI); Ms. TonniShea Freckleton, of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); Dr. Matthew Smith Lecturer in the Department of History and Archaeology at the UWI; Mr. Earl Jarrett, General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), and Chairman of the Jamaican Diaspora Institute; Dr. Leith Dunn, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Mona Unit; and Dr. Keith Nurse, UWI, Cave Hill campus.

“These distinguished academic and corporate leaders will examine the historical background to migration, highlight development lessons from country experiences, explain some of the socio-economic benefits, explore gender aspects, and discuss emerging issues, as well as their implications for migration policy,” Mr. Patterson stated.

He also pointed out that the Symposium on Migration was one of three events scheduled that week in Kingston. The other two are a Public Lecture on Migration at the UWI on February 21, to be delivered by Professor Elizabeth Thomas Hope, UWI; and Professor John Oucho, Professor in Population Geography at the University of Warwick, in the United Kingdom; and a meeting of the seven Commissioners of the Ramphal Commission, whose deliberations will be forwarded to a final meeting in London in July of this year.

“A consolidated plan of action will then be communicated to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which will take place in Perth, Australia, October 28-30, later this year,” Mr. Patterson stated.

It was his hope that a wide cross section of persons from the public and private sectors would attend the Public Lecture and Symposium at the UWI, so that they could “fully participate in the development of interventions and policies to inform the Commonwealth initiative; as well as, to influence policy at the global level.”

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