Jamaica's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Aloun Ndombet Assamba, has delivered a strong message of encouragement to the Jamaican community in Birmingham to become involved in the political process of their city.
"This is the best advice I can give you," the High Commissioner said, in response to concerns raised at a press conference held on Wednesday (August 1) in the city, about the absence of a black representative on the Birmingham City Council, and for advice about how the Diaspora could become more engaged in the political process.
She told the Jamaican nations that while the government fully supports the aspirations of its Diaspora community in the UK, she is unable to become involved in the political process of the country and city “but you can."
She pointed out that there are at least 50,000 Jamaicans in Birmingham in addition to other Caribbean nationals, and together, they can influence decisions taken on behalf of the city in which they lived.
The press conference, which was addressed by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, was to launch the five-day ‘Jamaica in the Square’ festival in Birmingham, which will celebrate and promote the island’s culture, including food, music, dance, art and craft, and fashion. Minister Hylton used the opportunity to encourage the Diaspora community to promote Jamaica as a place for business opportunities.
In joining Minister Hylton’s appeal for support, the High Commissioner said that the challenge is how to engage the interest of third and fourth generation Jamaicans in the UK.
She said she has had regular consultations with the community as part of her mission, and is already getting encouraging response by their turnout to meetings. She appealed for nationals to bring their children to meetings promoting Jamaican issues and also suggested that they capitalize on the pro-Jamaican atmosphere created by the Olympics.
"Now is a good time when everybody wants to be 'Jamaicanly,' she said. This is a moment when the younger generation is likely to be most attentive and be won over to things Jamaican,” she pointed out further.
"We are celebrating our 50th anniversary and we expect that this will also be a good Olympic year for us," the High Commissioner added.