JIS News

Jamaica’s High Commissioner to London, Gail Mathurin has urged nationals abroad to participate fully in the Diaspora groupings and through them, lobby for positive political and economic changes to their homeland.
“The Diaspora movement provides a unique opportunity for Jamaicans overseas to participate in the process of making the decisions that affect all Jamaicans in our homeland and in our various adopted countries. The Diaspora groups can become a significant political and economic lobby to influence changes that can benefit us all,” she stated.
The High Commissioner, who was addressing a community meeting held recently in the city of Preston, noted further, that the United Kingdom (U.K.) Diaspora group not only served to unite Jamaicans, but would put their issues and concerns on Britain’s political agenda.
“Jamaicans in the U.K. work hard and pay their taxes and you should not underestimate your influence and your right to exercise this influence to benefit your community and put your issues and concerns on the agenda,” she said.
She noted that the Jamaican community had also been loyal and committed to their homeland and had played a tremendous role in the development of the country.
High Commissioner Mathurin, who was in Preston on the first of her official visits to Jamaican communities in the U.K., told the meeting that Jamaica was open for business and had received a positive evaluation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
She also spoke of the investment projects underway in tourism and infrastructure development, and noted that the expansion programme being undertaken at the Jamalco bauxite mining plant in Halse Hall, Clarendon would bring an additional 3,500 jobs to the area.
The meeting, organised by the Jamaica National Association, Preston, saw the High Commissioner answering a variety of questions ranging from concerns about crime and violence in Jamaica, UK immigration issues, incentives for investment in small businesses to the suspension of Air Jamaica’s service to Manchester.
During her visit, the High Commissioner met with Mayor of Preston Bhikhu Patel, Chief Constable Mike Barton, North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, and a group of young entrepreneurs of Jamaican heritage, including the principals of the popular Brown’s Restaurant.
At the meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, the High Commissioner spoke of the benefits of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the opportunities in the tourism sector and the importance of sugar to the Jamaican economy. She said that Jamaica intended to remain in sugar, despite the proposed price cuts by the European Union.
Ms. Mathurin noted however, that a number of proposals were being considered to mitigate the impact of the price cuts, including expansion of ethanol production and the co-generation of electricity from bagasse.