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Some 700 Jamaican nationals residing overseas are expected to attend the third Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference, which is slated for June 16 and 17 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Ronald Robinson, speaking at a JIS Think Tank today (April 9), said the event, which will be held under the theme: ‘A Borderless Partnership for Development’, “will bring all the Diaspora representatives together in one place, where the Prime Minister and Ministers of Government can articulate to them, the policies and direction of the new administration.”
He said that the theme was indicative of the Government’s view that “Jamaica is not just an island surrounded by water, but a member of the global village, where Jamaicans all over the world are making their contribution and making their mark.”
He noted that Jamaica is probably one of the few countries in the world that have the same amount if not more nationals living abroad “and so this conference for us is a very important one, where we will be engaging these individuals not just as a new administration, but also in terms of building on what was there before”.
In relation to the two previous conferences, Dr. Robinson commended those who had worked hard to put structures in place to engage the Diaspora and establish the framework on which the third conference can be successful. “This means that the conference will be looking to actualizing a lot of the ideas and the thoughts, in terms of becoming very practical things,” he said.
These include the Diaspora bond now being implemented by a technical committee; the Parliamentary Committee on Diaspora now being activated, and several other ideas.
Education and culture, crime, youth and future leadership, and religion are some of the topics that will be articulated at the conference, which will boast powerful speakers including persons from the University of Technology (UTech), University of the West Indies (UWI), and private sector experts here and in the Diaspora.
According to the State Minister, the Government is looking to bring more young people into the Diaspora movement and to encourage them to assume leadership roles to ensure continuity. Thus, he said that “for the first time, this year’s conference will have a delegation of youngsters coming with the members of the Diaspora and we will have a special session where that is concerned”.
Stating that the Government has been reaching out to the Diaspora, Dr. Robinson informed that: “I have been making some of the rounds, doing some town hall meetings with respect to engaging the Diaspora. We have been to Canada, the Prime Minister was also in Florida at a particular event, and we are sending a delegation to the United Kingdom with the Prime Minister at the end of May just for Diaspora matters.”