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Story Highlights

  • The introduction of a new unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will result in a fresh focus on the Diaspora affairs.
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon Kamina Johnson Smith made the announcement while speaking to journalists at the Ministry’s quarterly press briefing held recently at the Ministry’s Dominica Drive offices in New Kingston.
  • Additionally, she said that the Ministry has established a Diaspora Engagement Task Force in conjunction with the Economic Growth Council (EGC). The ECG has been appointed by Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness to advise the Cabinet on various policies and reforms that would facilitate economic growth.

The introduction of a new unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will result in a fresh focus on the Diaspora affairs.

The unit, which falls under the new Diaspora, Protocol and Consular Affairs Division at the Ministry, will deal more effectively with matters pertaining to the Diaspora.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, made the announcement while speaking to journalists at the Ministry’s quarterly press briefing held recently at the Ministry’s Dominica Drive offices in New Kingston.

She said that the new department will allow for more effective focus on matters of Diaspora engagement while facilitating the synergies with the other areas in the Division.

Minister Johnson Smith noted that the Diaspora engagement is a significant part of the Government’s domestic and foreign policy.

Additionally, she said that the Ministry has established a Diaspora Engagement Task Force in conjunction with the Economic Growth Council (EGC). The ECG has been appointed by Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness to advise the Cabinet on various policies and reforms that would facilitate economic growth.

Senator Johnson Smith said the Task Force, chaired by a member of the Diaspora, Dr. David Panton, will explore possible proposals and “operationalise the Economic Growth Council’s call to action in respect of harnessing the Diaspora.”

She stated that the team will also explore the feasibility of some of the proposals that have been made, such as the immigration service card, as well as engage in technical work “on how we can take Diaspora engagement to another level.

“It will also review the institutional framework that has been proposed in the draft National Diaspora Policy,” she added.

Touching on the matter of the draft National Diaspora Policy, the Minister said that the policy inherited from the previous Administration was still under review.

“While some review had started internally, the fact is that what comes out of the Diaspora Engagement Task Force will fundamentally impact on some of the institutional provisions that are in the draft,” she said.

Senator Johnson Smith stated that the tabling of the draft policy must await outcomes of the Task Force and consultations with the Diaspora on the new developments.

“The Ministry is dedicated and committed to ensuring that the policy is completed and we are treating it as a serious matter, but it is being reviewed and there is more work to be done,” she added.