For the first time since its inception, the Jamaican Diaspora Convention 2010 will be held outside of Kingston.
According to Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Ronald Robinson, this will allow delegates a broader sense of Jamaica, by lessening the Kingston-centric nature of the policy making process.
The three-day event is slated to take place in Ocho Rios, St. Ann at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel and Spa from June 14 to 17, under the theme ‘Partnering for Transformation: Jamaica and its Diaspora.’
The occasion will see some 700 delegates, drawn mainly from the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, converge on the tourist town.
Chairman of the Jamaican Diaspora Convention 2010 Preparatory Committee, Earl Jarrett (left), listens keenly to Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Hon. Ronald Robinson, during a media launch for the Convention at the Ministry, New Kingston, Thursday (May 6).
Dr. Robinson told a media launch at the Ministry on Thursday (May 6) that the convention was a continuation of the Jamaican Government’s policy of engaging overseas Jamaicans in the process of national development.
He said that for 2010, the fourth biannual conference has been purposely rebranded as a convention, as it will be taking a totally new format.
“The choice of a hotel venue on Jamaica’s North Coast is intended to unlock the potential of the Jamaican Diaspora market for our tourism product, and introduce those who reside abroad to a different side of Brand Jamaica,” he remarked.
Dr. Robinson said this year’s theme is also quite relevant, as it is a natural progression on the themes of past conferences.
“These concepts of partnership and transformation must assume centre stage as Jamaica, at this time, finds itself beset by the effects of the global economic crisis,” he noted.
“In the face of these challenges the policy of engagement will be focused mainly on the development of sustainable, vibrant organisations in the varied Diaspora communities, and the strengthening of partnerships between the Diaspora members, organisations and Jamaica,” he added.
He said this convention should have as a major outcome an intensification of the partnership between Jamaica and its Diaspora, and facilitate a greater influx of skills and expertise not immediately available.
Chairman of the Jamaican Diaspora Convention 2010 Preparatory Committee, Earl Jarrett, said that among the matters to be discussed and considered at the conference, are Jamaica’s recent signing of a standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as the successful implementation of the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX).
Executive Director of the Jamaican Diaspora Institute, Professor Neville Ying, said this year the convention will be built around a unique structure.
“There will be plenary sessions, workshops and networking sessions. The other format that we have changed is that we won’t necessarily have speakers, like at the opening plenary. What we will have is a multimedia presentation, which will be done before time. It will be scripted, and it will be sharp and concise,” he said.
He said the plenary sessions will address themes for moving the Diaspora into new exciting and sustained directions. Themes will include; ‘Sustaining the Energy and Engagement of the Diaspora’, ‘Transformational role of the Diaspora’ and ‘Travelling into the Future Together: Jamaica and its Diaspora’.
All sessions will have interactive discussions and presentations facilitated by representatives from the Government, private and public sectors and academia in Jamaica and Diaspora representatives from the UK, US and Canada.