JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the nation is thankful for the immense contributions the Jamaica Diaspora continues to make towards the development of various sectors of the country.
  • “We cannot place a monetary value on [those contributions]. We are very grateful; we are very appreciative,” he said at the opening of the ceremony for the eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on June 16.
  • Mr. Holness said the nation appreciates the diaspora’s contributions in education, “with the schools that you have built… the books and the computers that you have sent and the exchange programmes that you have sponsored”.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the nation is thankful for the immense contributions the Jamaica Diaspora continues to make towards the development of various sectors of the country.

“We cannot place a monetary value on [those contributions]. We are very grateful; we are very appreciative,” he said at the opening of the ceremony for the eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on June 16.

Mr. Holness said the nation appreciates the diaspora’s contributions in education, “with the schools that you have built… the books and the computers that you have sent and the exchange programmes that you have sponsored”.

The Prime Minister also cited the diaspora’s help in sports, especially track and field; and in health, through the “hospitals and clinics that you have assisted, the number of operations that you have sponsored and medical missions you have [embarked on]”.

Mr. Holness said the value of the diaspora “in ensuring that the economy of Jamaica remains strong” cannot be underestimated, noting that this has been made possible through constructive engagement between the country and Jamaicans abroad.

“We don’t join this argument that there is no constructive engagement with the diaspora… . Based on the statistics… there are 40 new projects this year when previously we could only boast five or 15. We [now] have this great explosion in engagement,” he added.

The Prime Minister further pointed out that while the diaspora is an organic body that “operates on its own rhythm” and will work “even better” with government coordination, without this intervention, the country will still continue to benefit from the valuable input of Jamaicans overseas, who are passionate about contributing to the development of their home country.

“I encourage you to keep that special ‘Jamaicaness’, that vibration that keeps us together,” he said.

The conference, which continues today (June 17) at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, is being hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade under the theme ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development’.

This staging will target expanding and building pathways for the diaspora and Jamaica to work together to prepare effectively for the future within the context of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which incorporate the core goals of the Vision 2030 National Development Plan.

The focal areas for dialogue, as well as the expected outcomes of the conference, take into consideration important global trends and their impact on the future marketplace and the workplace as well as critical Jamaica-Diaspora partnerships.

The conference concludes on Thursday (June 20).