National Diaspora Policy coming next year
A National Diaspora Policy is one of the many major agenda items for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade for 2019.
State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Pearnel Charles Jr says the policy is likely to be tabled in Parliament by June.
According to Charles, the policy will provide a framework for working in partnership with persons in the diaspora with a dual purpose.
"First, the diaspora contributing to Jamaica's sustainable development, and second, Jamaica assisting members of the diaspora to address social and economic issues and to prosper where they reside worldwide," said Charles.
He told The Gleaner that the policy framework anticipates that the value and worth of the diaspora to the country will be enhanced, while systems for the delivery of goods and services and resource mobilisation for programmes and initiatives will utilise this framework as the basis for prioritisation and planning.
Charles added that the policy will also serve as a framework for creating standards and protocols that facilitate the quality of life of the Jamaican diaspora.
He argued that a cursory look at events pertaining to the diaspora in 2018 showed real improvements over previous years and that there is a prospect for greater relations in 2019.
"Our diaspora relations advanced in a positive direction through the several substantive and progressive engagements with the diaspora in 2018. As the minister with the responsibility for the diaspora, I am anticipating working more closely with our people," he said.
The Annual Diaspora Conference is slated for the middle of the year in Kingston.
The draft White Paper on the National Diaspora Policy is being refined by the foreign affairs ministry and the Planning Institute of Jamaica. The policy should provide the framework for enhancing the principle of mutuality between Jamaica and the diaspora.
It is aligned to the goals articulated in the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica, which is aimed at creating a framework for Jamaica to achieve developed-country status within 12 years, as well as national priority documents such as the Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework.