JIS News

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  • State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, is anticipating a strong turnout for the 6th staging of the Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference.
  • The event takes place from June 13 to 18 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.
  • Speaking on February 23, at a Western Region Stakeholders briefing at the Hilton Resort in Montego Bay, Mr. Brown said 2, 000 participants are expected for this year’s staging.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, is anticipating a strong turnout for the 6th staging of the Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference.

The event takes place from June 13 to 18 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

Speaking on February 23, at a Western Region Stakeholders briefing at the Hilton Resort in Montego Bay, Mr. Brown said 2, 000 participants are expected for this year’s staging.

“The last conference in 2013 was a resounding success. We had over 1, 500 participants involved and this year, we are hoping to increase those numbers by 500…and there is a push to get as many as 1, 000 of those persons from the Diaspora,” he said.

Mr. Brown noted that the biennial event represents an important element in the process of engagement of members of the Jamaican communities, who live outside the island.

He informed that at the 2013 conference, Jamaicans living as far as Malawi, the United Arab Emirates and Columbia were in attendance and this year, efforts are being made, through the Diaspora mapping project, to identify countries where Jamaicans reside and to ascertain their interest in attending the event.

He said that while the Diaspora makes a significant contribution to the economy, contributing 15 to 16 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through remittances, “we want to demonstrate that we are not just looking at remittances, but there is far more that the Diaspora can do in partnership with Jamaicans here,” he said, citing support in the areas of education and health care.

The State Minister said that one of the issues to be emphasised during the conference is the need for more Jamaicans to invest in the island.

“How is it that we have an Irish company (Digicel) becoming a global brand by investing in Jamaica? Why then can’t Jamaicans participate and get that same value proposition…there is nothing preventing that from happening. There is value to be gained by investing in Jamaica, despite the challenges, because we are cognizant of the challenges that exist,” he said.

The conference, to be held under the theme: “Jamaica and the Diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity, involves support from the Jamaica Tourist Board, (JTB), Grace Kennedy Group, Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), J. Wray and Nephew Limited and Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS).