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Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has announced the appointment of two Diaspora Liaison Officers to work with Jamaicans to clear educational materials at ports of entry, and to provide them with adequate information on how to support institutions of learning in Jamaica.

Speaking at an Education Session on Wednesday, June 19, at the 5th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in St. James, the Minister named the Officers as Analia Wallace-Muir, who functions in the office of the Permanent Secretary, and Latoya Harris, who works at the National Education Trust (NET).

“We want to be responsive to your generous spirit, and remove the difficulties,” the Minister said.

“It is our responsibility to do better for you. It is a shame, and I take responsibility, as do the officials of the Ministry. You put together what you can, and when you send it off, it is for us to make sure that it gets to Jamaica, that it is distributed in the way that you want it to be, and that you are acknowledged for your donation. Those are important courtesies that are non-negotiable,” he told the audience.

Rev. Thwaites lauded the many groups and individuals for their continued support of education, noting that they have not forgotten where they and earlier generations received their first start in education. He urged them to consider support for the school feeding programme, and for early childhood education.

“The Diaspora, who quietly have continued their support for education in Jamaica…it is not quantified enough. We know that there are millions of dollars in cash and kind, as well as social and spiritual energy coming back. It is an exercise in humility, and we owe you a debt of gratitude,” the Minister said.

The session looked at advancing education in Jamaica, and facilitating and consolidating Diaspora contributions, as well as Diaspora expertise for educational programmes.

Several delegates who head educational institutions pledged to offer their expertise in Jamaica’s interest. There are some 131 alumni associations in the Diaspora, which provide scholarships and bursaries, and contribute to infrastructural development to enrich the educational process.

Contact: Garfield L. Angus