Sun | Dec 15, 2019

Open questions regarding the new Global Jamaica Diaspora Council

Published:Tuesday | November 19, 2019 | 12:36 AM

The Diaspora has been deluged with marketing, emails, articles and social media posts promoting the new Global Jamaica Diaspora Council. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) has yet to even attempt to resolve any of the legitimate concerns raised by members of the diaspora around the ­structure, ­intent and design of the new council.

1. Why is a minister of Government the chair of a diaspora council? diaspora councils in other countries are headed by members of the ­diaspora, not the government. Is this an attempt to create a second prime minister, but for the diaspora?

2. Why is MFAFT maintaining a 14-year-old legacy engagement model? MFAFT has stated that the new council carries forward the structure of the Diaspora Advisory Board. It has been over a decade; the movement has evolved. Any new engagement mechanism designed to support the diaspora that does not even attempt to address, in some form or fashion, the repeated requests over many years for representation, does not serve the diaspora but, rather, serves the Government of Jamaica.

3. Why is the diaspora going through an election for a nonpolitical position? There is mass confusion around what being elected means. There is still a perception that an ­election implies political ­representation. Given that the diaspora is voting, this is a normal assumption. Again, since it does not, why are we voting?

WHY IGNORE US?

4. Why is MFAFT driving and so ­intricately involved in what has always been a diaspora-led election process?

5. Why does the council’s website state that paper registration will not be available, yet paper registrations are actively being collected? There is no documentation in the MFAFT material on this paper process. Who will transcribe the paper data into the system? How will the integrity of our data and voting be ensured?

6. Why are these legitimate ­community concerns being ­blatantly ignored? Is the council a fixed and inflexible model that cannot be ­modified to better support the actual stakeholders it was designed to engage?

Can the MFAFT provide real ­resolution versus repeated marketing?

Diaspora Voice. Email feedback to jadiasporavoice@gmail.com and columns@gleanerjm.com.