JIS News

More than 200 Jamaican nationals from the northeast United States (US) are scheduled to meet in Washington, DC this Saturday (Aug. 19) for the Northeast Diaspora conference.
The one-day conference, which is scheduled for Washington Plaza’s Hotel Freedom Hall, will be officially opened by Professor Gordon Shirley, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, with Senator Delano Franklyn, State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Diaspora matters, delivering the keynote address. Edmund Bartlett, Opposition Spokesperson for Tourism, will also address the delegates.
Among the issues that will be discussed at the meeting, which is scheduled to get underway at 9:00 a.m., are the terms of reference for the proposed Joint Select Committee of Parliament on Diaspora Affairs, which was one of the proposals made by Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, at the Jamaica Diaspora Conference held in Kingston in June.
Other topics to be discussed are the development of organisational structure and a professional database for the sourcing and procurement of Diaspora skills and professionals, and the establishment of a faith-based network.
According to the Northeast Diaspora Advisory Board Member, Dr. Harold Mignott, “what the conference wants to achieve this weekend is a consensus as to where we want to go with the initiative that came out of the June conference.
We are specifically looking at how the Joint Select Committee of Parliament will have an impact on the Diaspora. We hope that the Northeast representatives will give their input as to the terms and reference of this new body.”
He informed that some of the resolutions from the June Conference would also be discussed, such as disaster preparedness, education, and the involvement of the youth in the Diaspora.
The Northeast US comprises Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington D.C., and Virginia.

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