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Story Highlights

  • Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States (US), His Excellency Ralph Thomas, says he will be engaging the Jamaican Diaspora on a number of pertinent issues.
  • Among the issues are: immigration and deportation; economic empowerment of Jamaicans and Jamaican communities across the US; promoting cultural awareness, especially among second and third generation Jamaicans; and strengthening the fraternal bond between the Jamaican Diaspora in the US and citizens back home.
  • Providing support and guidance for philanthropic initiatives, and mobilising the Diaspora to have a greater voice in the respective communities where they reside, will also be addressed.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States (US), His Excellency Ralph Thomas, says he will be engaging the Jamaican Diaspora on a number of pertinent issues.

“Having lived and worked as a member of the Diaspora for over two decades, and having shared many of the challenges and experiences that individuals go through, there are a number of areas in which I intend to engage the Diaspora,” he told JIS News in an interview.

Among the issues are: immigration and deportation; economic empowerment of Jamaicans and Jamaican communities across the US; promoting cultural awareness, especially among second and third generation Jamaicans; and strengthening the fraternal bond between the Jamaican Diaspora in the US and citizens back home.

Providing support and guidance for philanthropic initiatives, and mobilising the Diaspora to have a greater voice in the respective communities where they reside, will also be addressed.

Ambassador Thomas hailed the invaluable contribution of the Diaspora to nation building, and urged members to seize opportunities to participate more fully in the development and growth of the country, as well as the United States.

“I would wish to see the Diaspora featured as a centrepiece of our development strategy and our investment strategy and for the Diaspora to understand how to connect with Jamaica in different ways and benefit from those opportunities that currently exist,” he said.

He pointed out that there are many positives taking place in Jamaica and the country is well poised for growth and development.

Ambassador Thomas, who was appointed by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, on August 21, relishes his new role.

“I think that it is a good opportunity for me to be Jamaica’s Ambassador to the US at this juncture, as the Government of Jamaica seeks to deepen and strengthen its existing relationship with the Diaspora,” he said.

He noted that as Ambassador, he has a key role to play “as an interface between our Government and our Diaspora, bridging that gap with information, and better communication, and with being the spokesperson for our mutual interests.  I believe this presents a better opportunity for dialogue, and in this regard, the Embassy will serve as the main interlocutor.”

Noting that the Diaspora has an abundance of skilled persons and resources, Ambassador Thomas argued that “if we pool such resources together, they can make a great contribution to our country, achieve their own professional, financial and personal objectives, while securing the future for generations to come.”

Ambassador Thomas is Jamaica’s 12th diplomatic envoy to the United States. He succeeds Professor Stephen Vasciannie, whose tour of duty concluded in July.