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  • State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arlando Brown, has hailed the significant contributions being made by Jamaicans in the Diaspora to national development.
  • He said that members of the Diaspora contribute $2 billion in remittances on an annual basis, with some US $16 billion remitted to the island over the last decade.
  • The State Minister said that in addition to their financial contributions, Jamaicans also play a role in improving the lives of their fellow men, through medical missions, educational programmes and other social and community initiatives.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, has hailed the significant contributions being made by Jamaicans in the Diaspora to national development.

Delivering the keynote address at a function staged by the all-female Kiwanis Club of Providence in Montego Bay, at the Wexford Hotel on January 14, to mark the 100th anniversary of Kiwanis International, Mr. Brown said Jamaicans across the Diaspora must be lauded for their efforts toward nation building.

He said that members of the Diaspora contribute $2 billion in remittances on an annual basis, with some US $16 billion remitted to the island over the last decade.

Remittances, along with tourism, he said, are the country’s top foreign exchange earners.

“Obviously it (remittance) comes into the country as foreign exchange receipts and therefore is accounted for in the calculation of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). If we consider that the Net International Reserves (NIR) are now somewhere in the region of US$2.1 billion, it tells you the size of the contribution that the Diaspora is making to Jamaica,” Mr. Brown said.

The State Minister said that in addition to their financial contributions, Jamaicans also play a role in improving the lives of their fellow men, through medical missions, educational programmes and other social and community initiatives.

“Annually, there are over 300 medical missions that come here from health professionals, who live outside of Jamaica…providing health care, health services to communities that are challenged and these health services help to augment the services that are offered locally. And, they are doing this at no cost to the Government or to the people, who they engage,” Mr. Brown said.

He noted that the members of the Diaspora have been “extremely strong” in terms of their commitment in the area of education.

“In February of last year, a team from the Diaspora came to Jamaica, and had an education summit in Kingston, Portmore and Montego Bay. Out of that initiative they have evolved a six-year plan to support the education system in Jamaica…and this, in itself, is a very important development because apart from supporting their own schools…they are now focusing their energies on supporting the education system at large, and it means that our students are likely to benefit tremendously from this engagement,” Mr. Brown said.

 

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