JIS News

Jamaicans are better off that they were 15 years ago, with poverty having declined over the period, which has helped to improve living standards.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn, in his address at the recent High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, cited statistics to show that poverty in Jamaica had declined from 28.4 per cent in 1990 to 14.8 per cent in 2005.
In addition to policies instituted by the government to reduce poverty, Senator Franklyn told the gathering of delegates from UN member states, that the improved living standards could be credited to the increased inflows of remittances from nationals living in the Diaspora.
Remittances, he said, accounted for some 16 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “One of the positive spin-offs of migration is the increase in receipts from remittances, moving from under US$100 million in 1990 to US$1.65 billion in 2005,” Senator Franklyn informed.
He noted however, that even with the increased inflows to the country, which have helped to reduce poverty, “remittances should in no way be seen as a reward for the migration of trained professionals” from Jamaica.
“Remittances, as significant as it is, cannot adequately replace the loss of skilled human resources,” Senator Franklyn argued.
He called on member countries to pay more attention to mitigation and development and to formulate and implement appropriate action to address the issue.He urged them, to “avoid the growing tendency to focus only on security and border control issues”, and instead approach migration policies in a comprehensive manner, while recognizing its multi-dimensional nature.”
“Other important concerns such as the human rights of migrants, identifying solutions to the negative impact of the ‘brain drain’ and enhancing cooperation on issues related to migration and mobility, are among those that should also be given equal treatment,” Senator Franklyn stated.
He told the meeting that the Jamaican Diaspora continued to play a significant role in national development and it was for this reason that the government was in the process of creating structured linkages at the legislative level, to better harness the potential of the Diaspora.
The two-day meeting was part of the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly, which opened on September 12 and continues to the end of the month. The session is being chaired by Her Excellency, Haya Rashed Al-khalifa of Bahrain.

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