Jamaica’s Honorary Consul in Edmonton, Canada, Colleen Neita, is very dedicated to Jamaica and its future development.
Jamaica’s Honorary Consul in Edmonton, Canada, Ms. Colleen Neita, is dedicated to the country’s development.
It is because of this simple fact that she accepted the Government of Jamaica’s invitation in June 2008, to serve as envoy to the Canadian city, which is home to 7,000 to 10,000 persons of Jamaican heritage.
Speaking to JIS News recently, the Honorary Consul said she believes in the Jamaican Diaspora movement and what it can do to assist Jamaica on its path of development.
“I have attended all the (Diaspora) conferences so far and believe it is important. We in the Diaspora can help Jamaica and should do all that we can to assist,” she said.
She stated that assistance does not always have to come in the form of “big bucks”, mentioning a backpack programme that she is involved with through the Jamaica Association of Northern Alberta (JANA), which supports schools in the island.
Supporters are asked to donate a backpack filled with school supplies, or donate cash to purchase the items.
Ms. Neita also believes that young persons of Jamaican heritage should be encouraged to be part of the Diaspora movement, although she admits that there are challenges.
“One of the biggest challenges we have in Edmonton, for instance, is encouraging the second and third generation Jamaicans to be a part of our movement out there. I think part of the problem is that they see themselves as Jamaicans and Canadians but they really can’t seem to decide. The Jamaican organisations in Canada need them because many of the leaders are seniors and they need to pass the torch on to the younger generation. How do we do it, I’m still trying to find the answer to that,” she stated.
As Honorary Consul, Ms. Neita represents the interests of Jamaica and Jamaicans in Edmonton.
“I encourage trade and investment and tourism to Jamaica, give out passport forms, assist temporary workers, who have lost their jobs to navigate immigration in order for them to stay in Canada. I just really represent and promote Jamaica,” she informed.
A Registered Nurse (RN), Ms. Neita, who attended St. Hugh’s High School in St. Andrew, is from a large family of five siblings.
The city of Edmonton has been her home since migrating to Canada in 1975, where she met and married Barbadian-born Michael Broodhagen and they are the proud parents of three sons and one grand-daughter. Ms. Neita is also the Labour and Delivery Manager at the city’s Misericordia Hospital and was on the Executive of the Jamaica Association of Northern Alberta (JANA) for 25 years, serving as President for 10 years.
Jamaica’s diplomatic representation in Canada includes three other Honorary Consuls in Victoria, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Montreal, Quebec; along with the Consulate General in Toronto, Ontario and the High Commission in the Canadian capital, Ottawa.