JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn, said yesterday (November 16), that there was a need to strengthen the relationship between Jamaicans at home and those living in the Diaspora, as this was key for the development of the country.
He pointed out that Jamaicans living overseas have contributed significantly to the nation’s economy, with annual remittances to the island being about US$1.6 billion. As such, he said, it was vital to get them more involved in the decision-making processes of the country.
The State Minister was speaking at the press launch of the St. Elizabeth Homecoming Week, at the Hilton Kingston Hotel in Kingston, “It is one thing to talk about the remittances to the island. the grants and gifts to Jamaica, especially at Christmas. We need to reciprocate this relationship, as we do know how they help during a period of crisis. It is not just what they can do for us, but what we can do for them, providing information for them.
Involving them in our planning is also very important. We need to show them that if we are asking for help, we are not taking them for granted. We wish for you to help us in terms of arriving at decisions,” he said.
He cited Jamaican Diaspora Day on June 16, as one effort by the Government to give Jamaicans living overseas a sense of involvement. “We have also gone ahead to appoint an Advisory Board, which advises the Minister with responsibility for the Diaspora, to give them a sense of full involvement. We are also now moving to create a Jamaican Diaspora Foundation,” he informed.
The unsatisfactory level of crime and violence, he noted, was a major deterrent in getting Jamaicans living overseas to invest in the country. “We will not be able to maximise the potential of those Jamaicans living in Jamaica and those living overseas if we do not get a very serious handle on this crime issue. The crime is preventing the levels of investments which we would like to see, even though we have increased investments,” he said.
He noted that St. Elizabeth was one of those parishes that had a low crime rate, and as such he challenged members of the St. Elizabeth Homecoming Week to get persons from the parish who were living overseas, more involved in the local governance of the parish.
St. Elizabeth Homecoming Week will be observed from November 26 to December 2, under the theme: ‘Building Future Leaders’.