JIS News

OCHO RIOS — Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon Marlene Malahoo Forte, says that the Jamaican Diaspora is committed to constructive dialogue, and is working with the Ministry to move Jamaica forward.

“All major groups are represented, the Board is fully constituted, Convention 2011 is on and we are going to have a wonderful time,” Senator Malahoo Forte told media representatives during a break from the Diaspora Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday, June 15, as the Jamaican Diaspora Convention 2011 started in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.

Over 300 Jamaicans, mainly from the North American and European Diaspora are expected to attend the three-day convention, which is being held at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, under the theme, “One Nation: Jamaica and its Diaspora in Partnership”.

Strengthening Diaspora/Jamaica partnership, building sustainable Diaspora communities and the organisational structure of the Diaspora organizations are expected to be among the most explosive themes on the agenda, but there is also likely to be lively discussions on national issues like crime and violence, health, education and Vision 2030 and the Diaspora engagement.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr Kenneth Baugh, who is in charge of the Cabinet in the absence of Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding, who is on a week’s leave from office, will speak at the official opening of the convention Thursday morning. Diaspora members will also get to interface with Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon Audley Shaw, and Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon Karl Samuda, both of whom are expected to make presentations, as well.

Coming out of Wednesday’s discussions, Senator Malahoo Forte said the Ministry was able to clarify the role of its overseas missions to Diaspora members present. She said that the meeting was very constructive and progress was being made.

“We have had different views on the table, all have contended and, so far, we are arriving at consensus on the matters being discussed,” she said.

The convention is being hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and is expected to conclude on Friday, June 17.