JIS News

The Diaspora Marketplace – a new feature of the Jamaica Diaspora Conference – is buzzing with activity as several government entities and organizations seek to promote their goods and services.

Driven by the theme, ‘A Nation on a Mission: Diaspora Partnership for Development’, the Jamaica Diaspora Conference, which is underway at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in St. James, seeks to focus on Investment and Trade.

Emphasis is also being placed on traditional areas, such as Education, Health and Community Development. The conference ends on June 19.

Addressing the opening of the Diaspora Marketplace on June 17, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson, said it is a signal that Jamaica is open and ready for business.

[RELATED: Prime Minister Calls for Diaspora Members to Invest in Jamaica]
“It is extremely gratifying that over 56 companies and organizations are participating in the marketplace. I commend JAMPRO for the tremendous work it has done to provide a platform for business to business sessions throughout the conference,” the Minister said.

Expressing a high level of optimism, Senator Nicholson said the conference represents a turning point in the Government’s approach to development, where partnerships and unity are prized and applauded.

“I am convinced that we will see transformation, growth and development in Jamaica, as we unleash the collective potential of our public and private sectors and indeed all sectors of civil society,” he said.

Some 10 government agencies have collaborated to offer a one-stop express shop at the conference.

These include the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), National Land Agency (NLA), Jamaica Customs, Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Administrator General’s Department, National Housing Trust (NHT), Trade Board, Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) and Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ).

Communications Officer at the TAJ, Leighton Beckles, told JIS News that the agency is pleased to be part of the marketplace, where the Diaspora members can access valuable information.

“Tax Administration Jamaica will be showing members of the Diaspora how we are working to serve them even better. We are helping persons with the tax registration service as well as giving them general information,” Mr. Beckles said.

He added that the agency’s efforts in seeking to become more customer focus are having far reaching effects, noting that Jamaicans at home and abroad can easily access the TAJ through the various social networks.

“We are on Facebook and Twitter and we also have a new redesigned website and our teams are actually retrofitted to be more customer focused, so over the next few days, TAJ will be able to capitalize on providing those general information services to persons in the Diaspora,” he noted.

Meanwhile, PICA has been assisting persons who require the various services offered by the agency.

“We are offering passport services, immigration services for unconditional landing, and citizenship services, particularly to persons who would want to have their children become Jamaican citizens by descent,” Director of Customer Service, Stephanie Gordon told JIS News.

She is appealing to participants to access the services offered by the agency during the period of the conference.

Following a tour of the Diaspora Marketplace, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade with responsibility for Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Arnaldo Brown told JIS News that his expectations have been met.

[Special Page: 5th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference]

“I think the Diaspora Marketplace is a very good innovation. This is the first time that this is happening at the Diaspora Conference and persons are able to see the range of offerings that the Government of Jamaica has. The Logistics Hub Initiative is on full display and persons are getting a visual understanding of what that entails and the opportunities that are there for investment in Jamaica,” Mr. Brown explained.

Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, was also on hand to experience the Diaspora Marketplace.

Impressed with the work of the agencies and organizations, he commended them on their efforts and urged Diaspora members to ensure that they view the various displays and access valuable information from the exhibitors.

“What we’re discovering is that very often some of them (members of the Diaspora) get secondhand information or are misled and then they complain, but the Diaspora Marketplace is presenting the opportunity for them to get firsthand information from the people directly involved,” Mr. Hylton told JIS News.

Other exhibitors in the Diaspora Marketplace include the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), GraceKennedy Company Limited, Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Ministry of Education.

Contact: Aldeen Campbell

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