Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte, says that the government remains committed to ensuring that the voices of Jamaicans living outside of the country are heard.
She was addressing a welcome reception for participants in the first annual Jamaica Diaspora Northeast United States Conference held on Friday (Oct. 29) at the West Indies Social Club (WISC) in Hartford, Connecticut.
“Jamaica’s foreign policy reflects this important objective and emphasises the value we place on the relationship between the government of Jamaica and the Diaspora,” she stated.
Senator Malahoo Forte said she is particularly pleased by the deep expressions of interest by the younger members of the Diaspora on matters of national significance, noting that this augers well for the future of Jamaica.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks (left), is warmly greeted by Jamaica-born Hartford Councilwoman, Avery Wilson (2nd left) at the welcome reception for delegates attending the Jamaica Diaspora Northeast United States Conference, held on Friday night (Oct. 29) at the West Indies Social Club (WISC) in Hartford, Connecticut. Sharing the moment are the Mayor of the town of Bloomfield, Sydney Schulman and his wife, Elba.
The State Minister, who has responsibility for Diaspora Affairs, noted that all Jamaicans have a part to play in the nation’s development, as articulated in Vision 2030 Jamaica, which is the national development plan. She charged the conference delegates to take the vision onboard and in their deliberations, to come up with positive ideas and plans for the way forward.
In her remarks, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, said the theme for this year’s conference: ‘Revitalizing the Diaspora for the continued development of Jamaica’, “is most appropriate, as it holds the promise for a Diaspora group standing side by side with our sisters and brothers at home, united in the resolve to stimulate national growth and development”.
She commended members of the Northeast Diaspora board for planning the event. “You have taken a proactive position on nation building for Jamaica and this must be singled out for praise,” she stated.
Consul General to New York, Genevieve Brown Metzger, said that the conference provides the opportunity to address the question “of how to work together to realize this enormous potential of a group, which contributes the largest amount of foreign exchange to the Jamaican economy”.
“I believe we have all the resources we need within the community to accomplish this important mission. Let us keep our eyes on the prize; let us recommit ourselves to the task at hand through focused leadership, creative opinions and strategic planning,” she urged.
Scores of Jamaicans and friends of the country residing in the northeast USA are in Hartford for the Jamaican Diaspora Northeast Regional Conference from October 29 to 31.
According to the chairman of the Northeast Diaspora board, Patrick Beckford, “the conference aims to engage the Diaspora in dialogue on how to contribute in a meaningful and sustained manner to nation building.”