JIS News

Cabinet has approved proposal for Jamaica to become a member of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), at the next meeting of the IOM, scheduled for today (November 30) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Minister of Information, Senator Burchell Whiteman made the announcement yesterday (November 29), at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.
“Jamaica has observer status and we are seeking to become a full member. There are benefits that we believe will be derived from being a full member of the IOM,” Senator Whiteman told journalists.
He added that a mission of the IOM was currently in the island and it was hoped that if Jamaica became a member, the IOM would ensure continued presence of this mission in the country.
“We believe that it will strengthen the collaborative efforts between the organisation and ourselves and facilitate the continued implementation of programmes for security and assistance in preventing threats from international terrorism,” Senator Whiteman said.
“It will help us in our work in dealing with the migrant trafficking networks and other transnational criminal enterprises,” he added.
The Minister explained that full membership with the IOM would also assist relationships with Jamaicans in the Diaspora and create a network of Diaspora organisations and entities which, “all constitute a part of a resource base for national development”.
Senator Whiteman noted that in the 1990’s, the IOM assisted Jamaica to return and to reintegrate 63 skilled Jamaicans into the country and the governmental system.
Some of the other bases on which membership within the IOM was proposed include: the growing importance of migration issues in the international development agenda; and greater strategic positioning of Jamaica for accessing resources reserved only for IOM member countries.
Founded in 1951 out of the activities of the International Refugee Committee (IRC), the IOM is one of the leading worldwide migration relief organisations, which carries out operational assistance programmes for migrants at the national and international levels. Currently, some 105 states are members of the IOM, while a further 27 states, including Jamaica, have observer status. Senator Whiteman said there was a cost of US$10,700 for annual membership.
On another matter, Cabinet also approved the adoption of a Code of Consultation for the Public Sector, developed by the Cabinet Office, in keeping with government’s strategy for modernizing the public sector.
Senator Whiteman informed that the effective implementation of the Code would lead to greater inclusiveness and ownership of stakeholders, enhanced openness and accountability of the public sector and increased collaboration.
The draft document has been prepared and the next step is dissemination to the public sector. Cabinet will, at a later stage, receive a revised format setting out the minimum time for the consultation process, allowing stakeholders a reasonable time to respond.