JIS News

Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Gail Mathurin has commended the London/Kingston network, which was formed following the signing of the London/Kingston Friendship agreement two years ago.
“The Friendship Agreement that was signed two years ago between Kingston and London recognises the longstanding historic, social, cultural and economic links between our two capital cities. We need to remember that these links go back centuries, dating to the days of ‘king sugar, it’s a very important linkage,” she said on Thursday (December 8).
The High Commissioner was speaking at the December meeting of the network. “I am very pleased to note that some of the main areas of focus of the Friendship Agreement include developing better mutual understanding between the citizens of Kingston and London, supporting existing and future cultural activities and of course promoting trade and tourism between London and Jamaica. They are clearly areas we need to strengthen,” she added.
High Commissioner Mathurin said the ideas behind the Agreement and the network were similar to those that underpinned the establishment of the Jamaica Diaspora Movement.
“We also see the Diaspora as having the potential through which all Jamaicans will have the opportunity to voice their concerns and to lobby for changes that will improve their communities and also Jamaica,” she stated.
She also said it was important that the London Kingston network recognized the dual identity of the Jamaican community who were committed and dedicated to Jamaica but were also loyal and hardworking citizens of the UK.
High Commissioner Mathurin also spoke of the need for the Jamaican community not to be pigeonholed by generalizations and stereotypes.
“I must urge Jamaicans that it is in our interest not to let others define us and set the agenda for our community. Jamaicans, as a people, have worked too hard and come too far to sit by and allow us to be pigeonholed by generalisations and stereotypes. I am pleased that there is a growing realization among Jamaicans in the UK of the need to assert their own unique identity,” she said.
The Network is chaired by the Policy Director of Equalities in the Mayor’s Office, Lee Jasper and includes a range of Jamaican community organizations and individuals. In addition to getting updates on a number of community projects the meeting was addressed by the Deputy Managing Director of the Gleaner/Voice group, Yvonne Wilks who outlined the changes taking place in the organization and its new focus on issues affecting the black community.