JIS News

The Jamaican Diaspora in Toronto, Canada, is in the process of establishing a special fund to assist Jamaica in times of disaster and other emergencies.
According to the Consul General in Toronto, George Ramocan, the Committee with responsibility for the Fund is working on strategies to engage the wider Toronto community and to develop a consistent method of giving.
“We have acquired, at the level of the Consulate and the High Commission, a charitable organisation that will allow us to have individuals making tax deductible contributions. The idea behind this is driven by the many needs that are there, particularly when we (Jamaica) enter periods of disaster. We cannot ignore the fact that disasters may come and there ought to be not just a response at the time of the (disaster), but there should be consistent forethought,” he said in a JIS News interview.
The city of Toronto has a significant Jamaican community of approximately 300,000 Jamaicans and persons of Jamaican descent.
Mr. Ramocan told JIS News that there are some 80 community based organisations that engage in charitable activities to assist Jamaica in a number of areas, including voluntary health care assistance, financial assistance to develop health care facilities, contribution of equipment to hospitals, as well as strengthening and expanding the infrastructure and services in educational institutions.
Meanwhile, the Consul General informed that the consulate is some nine months into its planning and preparations for special celebrations in 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence.
“Part of our objective is to bring home to the Jamaican community a greater sense of connection to their homeland and involvement with home based culture. Through this celebration, we are going to be doing quite a bit in terms of showcasing our parishes and just bringing Jamaica to Canada for a while,” he said, adding that the team is working on a special Jamaica homecoming project.
“What we are doing is developing this awareness where we are not only encouraging Canadians to visit Jamaica, but we are also encouraging our own nationals to be a part of the tourism programme. We are hoping to make a significant contribution in that respect,” he said.