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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, has called on Jamaicans living in Canada to invest in Jamaica’s agriculture and food processing sectors, to help guarantee the country’s food security.
“Most of the tourists who come to Jamaica eat imported food. We need to maximize production, so that we can guarantee the hotels a regular supply of the quantities and quality they need,” Dr. Baugh told a large gathering at a Town Hall Meeting at the Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa, on Monday (March 23).
In response to questions, he also highlighted other areas of opportunity for investment and urged the audience to explore both the established and emerging sectors, including cultural and medical tourism.
“Medical tourism is a rapidly growing enterprise in other countries. Think of people with kidney failure who need dialysis treatments three times per week, sometimes more. In large groups they want to go on holidays, but they can’t go to a country unless you have the facilities to treat them while they are there,” he explained.
“They want to be satisfied that there are facilities for emergency or intensive treatment, if it becomes necessary,” he added.
The Deputy Prime Minister told the audience that there was an urgent need to find ways and means of linking the diaspora’s skills with Jamaica.
Dr. Baugh said his Ministry was pursuing the establishment of a data bank so that, “we can know where the skills are that we need, so we can tap into these skills.”
Dr. Baugh also made mention of the recent by-election in Western Portland, which saw Daryl Vaz having to re-contest the seat, after the courts ruled that he was ineligible because he held dual citizenship of Jamaica and America.
Assuring Jamaican-Canadians that they would not be affected by the dual citizenship issue as Canada is a member of the Commonwealth, he said the Jamaican Constitution needed to be amended to remove the anomaly, whereby any citizen of a Commonwealth country can contest an election in Jamaica, after living there for 12 months, but a Jamaican who is a citizen of a non-Commonwealth country cannot run for office, even if that Jamaican had spent his whole life in the country.
Dr. Baugh also reiterated the current government’s intention to allow the Jamaican diaspora to be represented in the Senate. “We are making sure that we find ways and means to encourage your participation in the country,” he assured the audience.
Minister Baugh was accompanied by Ambassador Paul Harker, Director of Bilateral Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Canada, Her Excellency Evadne Coye. He was on an official visit to Canada, during which he had discussions with Canadian government officials and the Jamaican communities in Ottawa and Toronto.

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