JIS News

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  • Jamaicans living overseas are looking forward to the staging of the sixth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, set for June 13 to 18 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.
  • State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, said responses coming out of the international launches indicate that there is high interest in this year’s event.
  • He noted that some of the launches were streamed via the Internet “so we are reaching a significant number of persons and the response has been positive.”

Jamaicans living overseas are looking forward to the staging of the sixth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, set for June 13 to 18 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, said responses coming out of the international launches indicate that there is high interest in this year’s event.

“In all the locations that we have gone, the response has been positive, and persons have indicated and signalled that they will be in attendance at the conference,” he said, while addressing a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank.

He noted that some of the launches were streamed via the Internet “so we are reaching a significant number of persons and the response has been positive.”

Mr. Brown attributed the high interest in the event to the fact that participants are seeing the positive outcomes of concerns raised at previous conferences.

He cited for example, changes to the United Kingdom’s (UK) Air Passenger Duty (APD), which will reduce the cost of travel from the UK to Jamaica.

While acknowledging the role of the Foreign Affairs Ministry in bringing about the policy reform, Minister Brown noted that the involvement of the Diaspora was also crucial.

“The issue of APD, that was an issue that was raised at the conference and (we) are pleased to indicate that as at April this year, we have moved out of the expensive band into the band similar to the United States, and whilst there is no doubt that diplomatic efforts have brought that about, the role of the Diaspora in bringing that about is also critical,” he said.

Previously, passengers travelling from the UK to Jamaica had to pay expensive fees as those flights fell under the APD bands C and D. However, the elimination of those fees has allowed persons travelling from the UK to Jamaica to pay the same as those travelling to the United Sates in the B band.

Minister Brown also said that the issuing of report cards, highlighting the outcomes of previous discussions, is a feature that came out of recommendations made during the 2013 conference.

This year’s event themed: ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity’ has been launched in several locations including Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, New York and Miami in the United States; and Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton in Canada.

The conference has grown since its inauguration in 2004, with more than 1,500 participants at the last staging in 2013.