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Published on Nov 1, 2017
The questions asked most frequently in Jamaican diaspora circles have continued to challenge successive Jamaican government efforts since 2004 to engage with the Jamaican diaspora effectively. Still unanswered are: Where are the mechanisms for effective engagement? Is there an effective consultative partnership between the Government and the Diaspora?
The Jamaica 55 Diaspora 2017 Conference held in Kingston, Jamaica, July 23-26, moved closer to answering these questions, but we are not there yet!
The Conference, convened under the theme, “Partnering for Growth” focused on Jamaica’s economic growth agenda, including as its main goals and objectives to: 1) deliver a program that would “facilitate the sharing of information and constructive dialogue around national imperatives”; 2) “develop strategic actions for partnering with and optimizing the Jamaican Diaspora’s human and financial capital”; 3) “highlight initiatives for growing and sustaining the contributions of the Diaspora to Jamaica’s growth agenda”; 4) “facilitate dialogue between young people in Jamaica and those in the Diaspora”; and 5) “ensure the Conference outcomes are specific, actionable and implementable.”
The organizers should be commended for organizing a highly informational conference and for an impressive display of public-private partnership in engaging with the Diaspora. Under the chairmanship of the Hon. Earl Jarrett, Chief Executive Officer of The Jamaica National Group, the well-organized Conference advanced most of the objectives set for the Conference, but much work remains to fulfill the ultimate objective of effective Diaspora partnership and engagement. The stage has been set. I detected a rise in the level of optimism among Conference attendees; and there was the perception of seriousness in the approach of the Conference organizers evidenced in part by the increased role the private sector is assuming in this endeavor. The Conference chairman had about four months to organize this Conference and must be commended for the results achieved.