JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is reporting that preparations are far advanced for the June 13 to 18 Jamaica Diaspora Conference.
  • Director for Diaspora and Consular Affairs in the Ministry, Ambassador Sharon Saunders, said that persons are registering online for the conference via the website www.jamaicandiaspora.gov.jm.
  • She informed that the organisers have set an attendance target of 2,000 and already, over 1,000 persons have registered.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is reporting that preparations are far advanced for the June 13 to 18 Jamaica Diaspora Conference.

Director for Diaspora and Consular Affairs in the Ministry, Ambassador Sharon Saunders, said that persons are registering online for the conference via the website www.jamaicandiaspora.gov.jm.

She informed that the organisers have set an attendance target of 2,000 and already, over 1,000 persons have registered. She said the numbers are expected to increase over the next few days “as some persons like to wait until the last minute. I think we will meet our target.”

Ambassador Saunders, who was addressing a JIS Think Tank today (June 3), said that exhibitors have been showing interest in the Marketplace Exposition, which will feature a range of local and overseas exhibitors.

“The marketplace is oversubscribed. We have, to date, some 77 booth spaces and our target had been 70. In addition, there are 14 tabletops and there is a waiting list of some 30-odd persons,” she informed.

“The take-up has been quite successful. We are pleased that persons now see the value of showcasing their goods and services to Diaspora attendees,” she added.

Ambassador Saunders told JIS News that major companies will not only be showcasing their products, but also participate in the conference programme.

The Ambassador said the conference is an opportunity for Jamaicans to share their ideas and views.

“If you don’t talk, you don’t get your views and ideas out there. We have to ventilate our ideas, we have to be able to speak about what we need, how we can collaborate, how we can work together. There is so much potential in the engagement with Jamaicans wherever they live,” she said.

Executive Director of the Jamaica Diaspora Institute, Professor Neville Ying, said the conference will engage Jamaicans on the growth agenda and economic priority areas. Focus will be placed on the Global Logistics Hub, agro parks and business process outsourcing, cultural and creative industries and tourism and sports.

“The conference will look at the climate in Jamaica for attracting investment, our progress in the protection of intellectual property, which is very significant in terms of the cultural and creative industries, brand Jamaica and the role that the Diaspora can play in promoting it, protecting it and being ambassadors for it,” he added.

The 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, under the theme: ‘Jamaican and the Diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity,’ is scheduled to take place at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James.

The concept for a biennial conference began with a special symposium in 2003, as the Government sought to develop an intense and structured relationship with its Diaspora.

Following the first conference, some important structures emerged, such as the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation, the Jamaica Diaspora Institute and the Joint Select Committee for Diaspora Affairs in Parliament.

A Diaspora Advisory Board was also created to advise the Minister with responsibility for Diaspora Affairs.