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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Anthony Hylton has said that Jamaica’s policy of inclusion towards the Jamaican Diaspora has become more of an imperative, in light of the changing environment.
“My Ministry will work with other ministries or agencies and the private sector to strengthen the linkages with the Diaspora, through town hall meetings and when Ministers of Government or high level public officials visit these overseas Jamaican communities,” said Senator Hylton.
He was making his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Upper House on Friday, January 19.”We will ensure focused agendas for the biennial Jamaican Diaspora conference in June 2008, to enhance the partnership, and will establish a Joint Select Committee of the Houses of Parliament on Diaspora Affairs during 2007,” the Minister added.
Senator Hylton said complementary to these initiatives is a decision to establish a Jamaican Diaspora Foundation as a limited liability non-profit organisation.
“Its main goals are to strengthen the linkages and support systems between Jamaicans residing abroad and those at home and to deepen collaboration between stakeholder groups and those that serve as a central repository and clearing house for research and data relating to the Jamaican and Caribbean Diaspora,” the Minister outlined.
Mr. Hylton said it was important that the Government take steps to engage second and third generations in the Diaspora, whose ties and loyalty to Jamaica are less firm. “It is for this reason that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, in collaboration with stakeholders, will recognise the efforts of individuals or corporations in the Diaspora that, in the view of their community, have contributed significantly to promoting Jamaica and Jamaican culture in their host country and beyond,” he noted.
He added that the award would be titled, the ‘Lignum Vitae Award’, and would be inaugurated at the next Diaspora Conference in 2008. It will be awarded every two years when the conference is held.