JIS News

The Government of Jamaica will be engaging nationals overseas as it looks to attract increased investment to the island.

State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown said that Diaspora investment will be a major part of the upcoming Jamaica-Diaspora Conference in Montego Bay.

“We intend to present to the members of the Diaspora, the many opportunities for investment and trade in Jamaica,” Minister Brown told JIS News.

“We have embarked on a sensitisation process and we have elevated the investment from the Diaspora to the level of Foreign Direct Investment and we will be seeking to facilitate investors across the spectrum, whether it is small, medium or large investors,” he stated further.

Mr. Brown was speaking to JIS News at a community meeting held on Monday, March 18, at the Jamaican High Commission in London, to formally launch the 5th biennial conference in the United Kingdom (UK).

The State Minister, who has responsibility for Diaspora affairs, stated that “while we will not be able to get the kinks out entirely in one swoop, we hope to start a conversation and a dialogue, with the conference being the epicentre in terms on focusing on Diaspora direct investment.”

He said JAMPRO is putting together a Diaspora investment strategy and the Foreign Ministry is developing an International Migration and Development Policy and a Diaspora and Development Policy aimed at facilitating such investment.

Mr. Brown said that the country is ripe for investment, and persons “will find that investing in Jamaica is highly profitable”.

He said that the Government is working to improve the climate for doing business, and is reviewing the system of incentives and concessions, and is also looking at measures to enhance sensitivity and responsiveness to potential investors.

Mr. Brown also pointed to ongoing steps being taken to reduce crime and enhance security, noting that crime has been trending downwards over the past few years.

Minister Brown, who is on his first official visit to the UK, will also speak at two other specially arranged community meetings in Manchester on March 19 and in Birmingham on March 20.

Representatives from the main corporate sponsors GraceKennedy, Jamaica National and the Victoria Mutual Building Society, will participate in the meetings.

The Diaspora Conference, under the theme: ‘Nation on a Mission: Jamaica- Diaspora Partnership for Development,’ is slated for June 16 to 19 at the Montego Bay Conference Centre.

Mr. Brown told JIS News that this year’s conference will be a “watershed year, different from all other conferences and at the end of the period, it is our intention to set up an implementation group that will be tasked with ensuring that the recommendations coming out of the conference this year, will be actively followed up on and implemented”.

By Vivienne Siva, JIS Reporter