PM Says Diaspora Can be Powerful Tool for National Development

Photo: Cheryl Wynter Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right), receives the Keys to Broward County from County Commissioner, Dale Holness, at the 10th annual Grand Gala and Awards Ceremony of the Jamaican-American Bar Association (JABA), held at the Westin Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on November 18.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says given Jamaica’s prominence on the world stage, the diaspora can be a powerful tool for national development.
  • He said that as a result of the ongoing interest of persons in the diaspora, a new debate was recently sparked to explore the possibility of Jamaicans abroad voting in elections. “It’s a progressive step, which we intend to pursue,” the Prime Minister said.
  • He emphasised that there has to be global action to tackle issues relating to climate change, and that the support of larger nations is needed to help the smaller islands, reiterating that the diaspora voice can be useful in this process.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says given Jamaica’s prominence on the world stage, the diaspora can be a powerful tool for national development.

“We need to find the right voice to get Jamaica’s interests heard. Your strongest support is when you are able to speak on behalf of your country,” the Prime Minister told the large audience at the 10th annual Grand Gala and Awards Ceremony of the Jamaican-American Bar Association (JABA) held at the Westin Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on November 18,

The Prime Minister reminded that there are as many Jamaicans at home as abroad, estimating that almost 350,000 reside in South Florida.

He encouraged nationals to ensure legitimacy of their resident status in their diaspora homes if they choose to become citizens, allowing them to have a voice of reason for their homeland.

The Prime Minister noted that Jamaica has produced world leaders in the global arena as voices of principle, reason, peace and justice, as they contribute to the development of other countries.

Updating Jamaican nationals on progress at home, the Prime Minister spoke of recent meetings with the Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), at which Jamaica was praised for its improvement.

“We have done that through incredible sacrifice,” Mr. Holness said, citing reduction of the national debt.

The Prime Minister spoke of the 60,000 jobs created in the economy and the ease of doing business in Jamaica, with the country ranked 70th out of 170 countries worldwide.

He said that as a result of the ongoing interest of persons in the diaspora, a new debate was recently sparked to explore the possibility of Jamaicans abroad voting in elections. “It’s a progressive step, which we intend to pursue,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Holness commended the diaspora community for its ongoing commitment to Jamaica’s national development, and encouraged members to pursue ways to strengthen themselves in their communities.

On the subject of climate change, the Prime Minister cited the alarming frequency and intensity of natural disasters, such as hurricanes.

He emphasised that there has to be global action to tackle issues relating to climate change, and that the support of larger nations is needed to help the smaller islands, reiterating that the diaspora voice can be useful in this process.

The Prime Minister was given the Keys to Broward County by County Commissioner, Dale Holness, who is also a Jamaican national. He was also presented with a plaque of appreciation by the President of JABA, Don James, Esq.

The evening’s programme concluded with a presentation of awards and scholarships to several law students in the South Florida community.

JIS Social