New High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Her Excellency Aloun Ndombet Assamba, will be the special guest of honour and keynote speaker at the Jamaican Diaspora UK, 3rd Biennial Conference in London, on Diaspora Day, June 16, 2012.
Mrs. Assamba, who took up duties in the UK at the end of May, has publicly stated that engaging with the Jamaican community in the UK is one of her priorities.
The High Commissioner, who is an attorney-at-law and a former Minister of Tourism, said the conference will give her an opportunity to hear the goals and aspirations of the Jamaican community in the UK.
The UK Diaspora Conference has also received special congratulations from Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and endorsements from Government Ministries in Jamaica.
In a message to the conference, the Prime Minister said that: “Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica are as important to the growth and development of Jamaica as are Jamaicans who live in Jamaica. In other words, the recognition of Jamaicans by the Government goes beyond its geographic borders. It involves the over 2.7 million Jamaicans who live in other countries, including those of you who have long made the United Kingdom your second home."
The conference, which will be held at the Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith, London, will feature 12 workshops discussing a wide range of issues, such as: how to cut through the red tape and better access public sector services in Jamaica; re-investing in education in Jamaica; improving the effectiveness of the Diaspora movement; empowering and enabling young people into sustainable employment; and sustaining success in trading with Jamaica.
The keynote address will focus on the proposal to change from a Monarchy to a Republic, which is an area of keen interest to the UK community.
“All the workshop themes for this year’s conference come directly from the community. The focus will not only be on Jamaica, but also on helping Jamaicans in the UK,” said Conference Organiser, Sasha Henry-Crawford.
She added that the goal of the conference is to develop an action plan for the Diaspora for 2012-2015. “We are working towards a consensus on a UK mandate, which will be based on the actions of each workshop session,” Mrs. Henry-Crawford said.
Chairman of the Jamaica Diaspora UK Management Board, Ben Cunningham, said the UK Diaspora also plans to set up an all party lobby group to advocate on behalf of Jamaicans, both in the UK and in Jamaica.
“We want this year’s conference to be different and more meaningful. This is why we are focusing on a wide range of workshops dealing with the critical issues that have come from the community itself. Everyone wants to see concrete proposals and actions coming out of the conference,” he said.
“In light of the current worldwide economic condition and the impact it has on everyone’s daily life, the Diaspora wants to ensure that its voice and its concerns are taken into account by both the UK and Jamaican governments,” Mr. Cunningham added.
By Vivienne Siva (London)