Workshop Identifies Issues for Jamaica Diaspora Lobby Group


Immigration issues, special programmes for young people, visa matters affecting recruited Jamaican teachers and nurses, and political representation, have been identified as some of the issues that a proposed Jamaica Diaspora Lobby group could tackle.
These issues came out of a workshop on ‘Lobbying for Jamaica’, chaired by British Member of Parliament (of Jamaican Heritage) Dianne Abbott, at Saturday’s (June 16) Jamaican Diaspora UK conference.
Miss Abbott said the workshop looked at issues such as what was lobbying and how it was done. The workshop also identified the need for more information and a means of circulating information effectively. There was also discussion surrounding the setting up of a specific committee to look at issues.
The workshop also examined the importance of UK based Jamaicans getting involved in the political process.
Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Burchell Whiteman said lobbying for Jamaica should include the need to expand the Jamaica Brand to incorporate a range of issues, and not just music and sports. However, he noted that the process to change attitudes and perceptions would take time. He also urged the Jamaican community not to underestimate its influence and to use its political power to effect the policy changes that would affect the quality of life for Jamaicans.
The conference was also addressed by Senior Vice President of Air Jamaica, Will Rogers, who expressed regret that Air Jamaica had once again been forced to pull out of the UK market. He assured the meeting that the negotiations with Virgin Atlantic were to ensure that the transfer of the route and service to the community was seamless.
He said the withdrawal of Air Jamaica was not to say that the community had not supported the national airline over the years. He reiterated the economic reason behind the Air Jamaica pull out.
Other workshops at the conference looked at developing and encouraging entrepreneurship; education and culture; the role of the church in the community; youth participation and returning to Jamaica.

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