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Bring your chequebooks ... MoBay chamber boss tells Jamaicans abroad

Published:Wednesday | September 9, 2015 | 11:01 PMChristopher Serju

Jamaicans living abroad must back up their talk about love of country with practical action, such as buying into investment opportunities.

That's the challenge from Gloria Henry, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), to Jamaicans in the Diaspora.

"Development has to be monetised because a lot of the components of that plan of income generating, must be packaged and sold to foreign investors and this is where the diaspora comes in. They need to start putting money behind their talk because they have big, big talk, you know, but they not coming with the investment dollars," the business woman told a recent Gleaner Editors' Forum hosted by the MBCCI to highlight investment opportunities ahead of next month's MoBay Expo 2015.

"If they love country that much then they must come here and come with their chequebooks and projects and them must look at things like these to earn and to develop and give back to their country," she declared.

Henry, who is a member of the organising committee for MoBay Expo 2015, scheduled for October 9-11, is of the view that there is very little tangible benefit from events such as the 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference which was held at the Montego Bay Conference Centre from June 13-16.

She wants to see more Jamaicans who travel from the United Kingdom, North America and elsewhere getting in on the many opportunities for foreign direct investment, especially given their first-hand knowledge of local conditions.

"So the diaspora conference must really be geared towards steering them into development opportunities here," Henry insisted.

This year's conference theme was 'Jamaica and the Diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity' with pre-event launches held in several overseas locations such as New York and Miami in the United States; Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton in Canada, as well as the Cayman Islands.

The conference has grown since the first staging in 2004 with more than 1,500 participants turning up for the 2013 staging. While overseas participants generally give the event a good rating, questions remain about the full socio-economic benefits from the conference which this year cost about $50 million.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com