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A database is to be established by year end to capture the skills of Jamaicans in primary Diaspora communities of the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America.
This was disclosed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Dr. Ronald Robinson, at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, held on February 2.
“We know that we have nearly three million persons living overseas, but we know absolutely nothing about them, where they live, what their occupations are or their age groups. So, it is critical that we find a scientific way to start to get the information,” he said.
The database to be established at the Jamaica Diaspora Institute, at the Mona School of Business, will be a collaborative effort , with support from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The EU has allocated 200,000 Euros to fund the database project.
Dr. Robinson explained that the database would allow for greater participation on the part of members of the Diaspora in the development of the island.
“It is a major undertaking trying to build this global platform. That base will allow all of the organs and organisations associated with the Diaspora to be able to plug into it in a very interactive way and it will also be linked into our government ministries and agencies,” he noted, pointing out that Jamaicans overseas want to take part in the development of Jamaica, including bidding for local contracts.
The State Minister said that the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) would be actively involved in the process of building the database.
“Once that platform is up and running, that someone in Winnipeg in Canada will want a birth certificate and they can go directly to the RGD and get what they want. The most important thing, however, is the data captured – the demographics, their occupations…,” he added.
Dr. Robinson also pointed out that there was tourism component which could benefit the country.
“Can you imagine if we even got a third of the three million Jamaicans living abroad, persons who we can go to directly and give discounts? Can you imagine what that would mean in terms of boosting our tourism arrivals?” he asked.
The Minister of State hailed the platform as a modernisation of the Diaspora Movement, one that is key to the island’s development. He said that an extra effort would be made to ensure that all individual groups and associations be allowed to maintain their individuality, but be captured in the database.
Senator Robinson is Chairman of a Joint Select Committee of Parliament, which received submissions from the Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board last week.

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