Plans are in high gear in United States for the biennial conference of the Jamaica Diaspora Northeast Region from June 15 to 16 in Boston.
Under the theme: ‘Jamaica: The Pursuit of Fellowship and Prosperity – The Next 50 Years’, the event will address some key areas of concern for Jamaicans in the region as well as those at home. Topics for discussion include education, human rights, tourism and trade and investment.
Chairman of the Northeast Diaspora Board, Patrick Beckford, said that as Jamaica celebrates its 50th year of Independence this year, “the region is committed to galvanizing the community to utilise the vast skill sets that the Diaspora possesses in the continued development of Jamaica”.
He is calling on every Jamaican to attend the conference to discuss how best to channel their resources for nation building.
The two-day conference kicks off on Friday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m., with a free reception and community event at Island Pride Function Hall, 986 Blue Hill Ave, Dorchester. Keynote speakers for the evening will be the New York Consul General, Herman LaMont and the newly appointed Honorary Consul in Boston, Desmond McKenzie, Esq.
Mr. Lamont will be accompanied by staff members to address passport issues and other consular activities.
On Saturday, June 16, which will be celebrated as Jamaica Diaspora Day, a plenary session is scheduled to take place at the Reggie Lewis Center. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. A.J. Nicholson, is expected to deliver an address, and attendees can expect to be updated on the Jamaica Diaspora Bond.
Conference organisers are hoping that the Minister will use the opportunity to underline the government’s commitment to the growth, involvement and engagement of the Diaspora.
A senior representative of the US State Department will be part of a discussion panel on human rights issues.
Advisory Board Member for the region, Irwin Clare, Sr., stated that “both from a government and community stand point, it is critical that at this juncture of our golden jubilee, we as a people stop the habit of finding excuses as to why we cannot be engaged and become more active, because it is only when we stand together as a community, that much will be achieved”.
The conference is open to all Jamaicans in the US and information on the conference and registration details can be accessed at www.jamaicadiaspora.org or by calling 610-940-1716. Cost is $35 per person and $20 for students with identification.
By Derrick Scott (Washington, DC)