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The Jamaican Diaspora-Canada Foundation (JDCF) has launched the ‘We A Go Help De Pickney Dem’ Fund, which is designed to raise money to improve sanitary conveniences in 600 basic schools across the island.
The initiative was launched at the Jamaica Diaspora Day celebrations held last week at the Revivaltime Tabernacle in Toronto.
Treasurer for the JDCF, Clive Banton, said the project, which is designed to replace pit toilets with flush toilets, will cost approximately Cdn$5,000 per school for a total of Cdn$300,000.
Opposition spokesman on the Diaspora, Ed Bartlett, who was the keynote speaker at the event, lauded the Canadian diaspora group for its continued contribution to the development of Jamaica and Canada.
Mr. Bartlett challenged the group to take their involvement in the affairs of Canada to another level and start to influence decisions at the municipal and national levels. Noting that their political influence cannot be understated, he called on members of the Diaspora to make use of opportunities that can bring about change in the way migrants are viewed.
“The Jamaican Diaspora has enormous potential in influencing foreign policy in their host countries, and you have an opportunity to exercise this influence here in Canada. Decisions that are taken in the corridors of power in the adopted countries of Jamaican migrants do not stop at the borders of these countries; they also have an enormous impact on smaller countries and developing states and filter right down to us in Jamaica,” he stated.
Vice-President of the JDCF, Sharon Folkes-Abrahams, in a passionate address, said she believes in Jamaica and believes in where Jamaica is going. “When I think of the Diaspora, I see a vision and a movement of people, all working for Jamaica. This movement is of God and I believe this movement is not going to back off from Jamaica, but to back Jamaica to the next level,” she stated.
“I am proud of this Diaspora,” she continued. “We will accomplish many things because we are going into the future hand in hand for Jamaica.”
The audience was treated to entertainment by drummer Calvin Mitchell of Edna Manley School of the Performing Arts; Miss Lou impersonator Letna Allen-Rowe; and gospel singer Jassette Haughton.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner said that she was pleased the JDCF saw it fit to plan three activities to mark this year’s Diaspora Day. A Youth Conference was held a week earlier and a discussion/forum on the Diaspora and the role of the church in transforming inner-city communities will take place on Saturday, June 23, at the Revivaltime Tabernacle in Toronto.
At the event, pastor for the Diaspora, Bishop Peter Morgan, his wife Dr. Pat Morgan and their son Rev. Carrington Morgan will speak about their work in the inner cities of Southside, Trench Town and Majesty Gardens in Kingston, and how the Diaspora can play a role in transforming the communities.