MIAMI — Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, on Tuesday assured Jamaicans in South Florida of the Government’s continued commitment to engaging the Diaspora in constructive and meaningful ways.
She said that nationals overseas have made significant contribution to the country’s development and commended them for their unwavering dedication and passion for their homeland.
Senator Malahoo Forte was addressing a meeting at the Lauderdale Lakes Cultural and Educational Center in Fort Lauderdale, where she outlined plans for next month’s Diaspora Conference.
The two-day event will convene on June 16 at the Sunset Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, St. Ann under the theme: ‘One Nation: Jamaica and its Diaspora in Partnership’.
The State Minister said that while the conference agenda continues to be refined in consultation with the Diaspora, focus will be placed on collaborative ventures in which Jamaica and its Diaspora could partner to further develop programmes in health, education, national security, and trade and investment.
She urged overseas nationals not to be distracted from the process of positive engagement “as we work towards building a better Jamaica."
The State Minister, who has responsibility for Diaspora matters, again dismissed claims of political interference in the appointment of the Diaspora Advisory Board.
She stated that nationals will get the chance to elect the new board at the upcoming conference and the process “will be treated with integrity allowing for transparency and accountability."
Encouraging nationals abroad to attend the event, Senator Malahoo Forte said it will also provide an opportunity for all Jamaicans to get involved in preparations to celebrate the country’s 50th anniversary Independence in August of 2012.
Consul General to Miami, Sandra Grant Griffiths, echoed the call for Jamaicans to remain committed and engaged in the process of Jamaica’s economic growth and development.
Mrs. Grant Griffiths, who chaired the meeting, urged persons to remain in constant contact with the mission office in their respective overseas communities for updated information on the conference agenda.
Jamaican Diaspora Foundation Advisory Board representative, Marlon Hill, moderated the question and answer session, which followed the presentation.
Mayor of Lauderdale Lakes, Hon. Barrington Russell, also a Jamaican national, welcomed Mrs. Malahoo Forte to the city, which is home to a large population of Jamaican immigrants.
By CHERYL WYNTER