Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Her Excellency, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, says that the UK Diaspora must be cohesive in their lobbying efforts to more effectively advance their interests and that of Jamaica.
She stated that “a united Diaspora is an effective Diaspora”.
“You have to lobby your political representatives to make sure that they put your interests forward so this movement has to become an effective lobby group on issues of concern not only for the community here, but also for Jamaica,” she stated.
The High Commissioner was the guest speaker at the opening session of the biennial Jamaican Diaspora UK conference held on Saturday (June 16) in London.
Hundreds of Jamaicans from across the UK gathered at the Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith in London for the event.
Mrs.Ndombet-Assamba said the Government of Jamaica was taking a keen interest in the conference and the outcome of the discussions “which will strengthen your relationship with Jamaica."
She noted that the conference has special significance, as it was being held on Diaspora Day, which celebrates the contributions of Jamaicans across the globe, and more importantly, because it was one of several events being held in celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary as an independent nation.
“Let us recognise the signal achievements of our founding fathers, who have paved the way for the country’s quest for self-determination. The process will not be complete until we take full control of our destiny,” she stated.
Former General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, Dame Karlene Davis, who chaired the conference, outlined its objectives, which included indentifying means to improve the efficiency of the Jamaican Diaspora UK; to share in plans and support the implementation of new community initiatives for the Jamaican community; to determine programme strategies for the period 2012 to 2015.
Dame Karlene also reminded the meeting that there were enough Jamaicans living in the UK to have an impact on the UK government.
The conference included 12 workshops, where participants discussed a wide range of issues such as: how to reduce red tape and better access services in Jamaica; improving the effectiveness of the Diaspora movement; and empowering and enabling young people into employment.
By Vivienne Siva (London)