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New Jamaican High Commissioner to London, Burchell Whiteman, has pledged support to the United Kingdom Diaspora board, as it continues to lobby in the interest of the Jamaican and wider Caribbean community in the UK.
“This is the only way to ensure that your issues and particular needs are placed on local and national agendas, and I want to lend the strongest possible support to the united and focused efforts of the UK Diaspora Board as it takes on a national role in the interests of preserving a just, equitable, harmonious society for which the UK has traditionally been positively recognized,” he stated.
Mr. Whiteman, who was addressing members of the Jamaican community at a recent reception at the High Commission, said he was impressed and encouraged by the creative spirit and deep commitment shown by UK Jamaicans for their homeland, adding that they should be proud of their contribution to the development of the UK.
“Let us not forget that Jamaicans in the UK have contributed significantly for at least two generations to building the British economy and society and have no need to apologise for being here.
Indeed, if anything, we must make a concentrated effort to ensure that we correctly interpret and promote the best of Jamaica to those who do not have an in-depth or informed view of the country, its achievements, its character and its potential,” he stated.
A target group in this education process, he said, was the “generation of persons of Jamaican or Caribbean stock, who do not have a firm connection to the land of their forbearers.
Meanwhile, he encouraged the Jamaican community to organize special programmes and activities to mark the bicentenary anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans.
“In Jamaica, there will be activities to mark the bicentenary year under the theme: ‘Our Freedom Journey. Honouring our Ancestors’ and in the United Kingdom, the Department for Communities and Local Government is responsible for the British Government’s plans to mark the Bicentenary. I hope community groups and organizations here will take advantage of the funding that is being made available to put on special programmes and activities. It is important especially for our children and grandchildren, that we as a community, put on our own programmes and activities to mark this important milestone,” he stated.