Connecting Jamaicans Home and Away
A British returnee has launched a radio programme to support business professionals who have moved to Jamaica to assimilate and set up shop. Michele D. Moore, who relocated from south London, Beckenham, to Kingston three years ago, was inspired to change and improve her life and those of fellow returnees.
Heard on Saturdays on Roots 96.1 FM between 2 and 3 p.m., Home and Away Jamaica focuses on sharing migrating stories and experiences while conversing with folks at home in Jamaica and those away in the diaspora.
The programme addresses different professionals across various spectrums from the corporate, finance, construction, media, medical, fitness and well-being, fashion and agriculture sectors.
Moore told The Gleaner: "Listening to the experiences of those who migrated and the desires of those who wanted to migrate, combined with the questions and raised eyebrows from both sides of the water are the reasons I returned to Jamaica. I recognised there is still a need to strengthen the connection between Jamaica and the diaspora.
"All the misconceptions, negative comments and disregard of Jamaica added fuel to my fire to inspire others to change their perspective about Jamaica with the hope they would consider returning to contribute to growth and development of the land we love," she said.
The former Barclays Premier League consultant said: "I remember it being just a dream that continues to evolve. Operating Home and Away Jamaica as a platform for business professionals to connect, the globetrotter, who has been coming to Jamaica since her teens, said her programme is a great opportunity to advertise businesses, events or products. It offers support and gives listeners an opportunity to engage with others in the diaspora who plan to return home. I've utilised my voice and vision to create a platform for people to connect, share and grow," she said.
She originally started doing podcast radio and interviewed people who had migrated. The feedback and international listenership exceeded her expectations and led her to create the website www.homeandawayjamaica.com and then present the radio show.
A graduate of Middlesex University, Moore said, "I have met many people whom l want to reconnect with Jamaica, but when most people think about returnees, they usually think about pensioners or senior citizens.
"On the contrary, many are young, bright professionals, hungry to set up shop and start work as soon as they arrive but don't know how to. There are more questions than answers when returning, so Home and Away Jamaica aims to solve many challenges and dilemmas that will make the transition easier."
Dispelling some of the biggest myths about setting up business in Jamaica, Moore said, "The most common thing I hear is 'nothing gets done in Jamaica'." Coming from First World countries where everything is instant or computerised, you can get caught up in speed and time. My advice to business heads is to relax. There are processes which take longer compared to other parts of the world, but they do get done, you just have to be patient."
focus on the positive
"Another fable is, 'You'll get robbed if you're a foreigner'. If you think you will, then it's likely to happen. Like anywhere in the world, crime exists here. The best advice is not to act careless or fearful," Moore said.
She also cautions that the saying 'Jamaica - no problem' means the island is beautiful, but with its great potential, Jamaica has flaws, too.
"I've travelled the world and still haven't found the perfect place, but Jamaica has my heart. Choose to focus on the positive."
Moore, who believes she can do or have anything she desires, states, "Kingston is a great place to relocate and start up your business. It's the business Mecca of the Caribbean."
Moore said people coming back to Jamaica are seeking more out of life - quality and lifestyle - and are waking up to the fact that they are in control of their destiny and want to make a significant change to experience more than commuting, working and weekends. Jamaicans abroad have spent years trying to build a life for themselves or their families within systems that hinder their growth and unification, while trying to conform and adjust to other cultures.
"From my experience and observation, people want to liberate their minds, express their true selves and feel accepted."