KINGSTON — Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, has commended the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for its assistance in addressing the impact of the “brain drain” on Jamaica.
Speaking at a special ceremony at the PIOJ’s New Kingston offices recently to mark the IOM’s 60th anniversary, Dr. Hutchinson said the organization had been instrumental in assisting Jamaicans in the Diaspora, desirous of returning home to contribute to national development, to resettle.
“In the 1990s, the IOM assisted Jamaica in the return and re-integration of skilled Jamaicans into the government and public service. I know this first hand, because I am proud to say that it was the IOM which facilitated my return to Jamaica in the 1990s to serve as an advisor in the Ministry of Finance. And, it is that experience that has enabled me to be here serving as Director General of the PIOJ,” he noted.
Dr. Hutchinson said Jamaica’s admission to full membership in the IOM, after several years of observer status, commenced the “journey” to strengthen collaborative efforts between the organization and government, as migration issues on the international development agenda, gained increased focus.
He pointed out that, over the years, the IOM has worked with several Ministries, Departments and Agencies to facilitate the creation of the Diaspora network, in addition to addressing several other areas of concern. These include: border management; migrant transnational trafficking networks; and re-integration assistance.
The Director General further said that the government received “overwhelming” support from the IOM in the process of developing a National Policy and Plan of Action on Migration and Development for Jamaica.
The proposed policy and plan of action is intended to address areas relating to Diaspora engagement and development; the return and re-integration of migrants; family migration and development; labour mobility and development; remittance and development; human rights and social protection; governance and policy adherence; and data research and information systems.
“To date, Jamaica has received significant recognition in the international community for its approach, in particular, the development of an extended migration profile, which will enhance government’s capacity to effectively manage migration and to develop a framework for data collection and analysis, which is groundbreaking for Jamaica and the Caribbean,” Dr. Hutchinson said.
“We look forward to the final outcome of this policy and plan of action, in time for the United Nations high level dialogue on international migration and development, scheduled for 2013,” he added.
Dr. Hutchinson said that the focus of the collaboration needs to be viewed within the context of the country’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica, which seeks to position the nation as the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business.
“The outcome is to ensure that international migration is adequately measured, monitored and influenced to service the development needs of Jamaica. It must be evidence-based in how we track what we do,” he informed
In this regard, the Director General said the National Policy and Plan of Action on Migration is intended to complement the revised National Population Policy, the National Programme of Action on Population and Development, and other related policies and programmes.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter