UK Diaspora Prepares for Jamaican Conference


The Jamaican Diaspora UK is preparing for the fourth Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference, which will be held in Ocho Rios from June 14 to 17 this year.
A special pre conference meeting was held by the group last weekend in Birmingham, to discuss a range of topics and issues that will form part of the UK group’s input on the agenda.
Diaspora Advisory Board member, Mrs. Celia Grandison Markey, told JIS News that the meeting, which included a number of specialist workshops, was held to ensure that Jamaicans in the United Kingdom (UK) had an input into the Jamaican convention.
“The general idea is to ensure that Jamaicans in the UK have an input into the convention and to identify more readily with the Diaspora movement, with the conference and to see that they too can have a say in shaping the future (of the movement) and future conferences,” Mrs. Grandison Markey said.
The one day meeting also reviewed the conference agenda, and discussed the nomination process for the Advisory Board members. The workshops focused on youth involvement, the accountability of Regional Co-ordinators and looked at recommendations for ensuring the financial stability of the UK group.
Mrs. Grandison Markey said one topic on which more time should be devoted was encouraging entrepreneurship among the younger members of the Jamaican Diaspora.
She said there were many aspiring young businessmen and women within the Diaspora and that the conference should engage them and highlight their work, encourage and offer assistance to them.
Acting Jamaican High Commissioner, Ms. Joan Thomas Edwards, said this year’s conference, which for the first time is being held outside of Kingston, is taking place at a time when Jamaica is seeking to find a response to the global financial crisis.
Ms. Edwards said that the Government has put plans in place to steer the country out of this crisis, and that “partnership with our nationals overseas is critical to the process.”
She said the UK Diaspora must continue its efforts to establish an effective lobby group to influence issues of concern to Jamaica and Jamaicans in the UK.
The Acting High Commissioner also urged Jamaicans in the UK to participate in the upcoming British national elections.

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