Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Diaspora Conference | Jamaica's Ambassadors: Diaspora ready to engage the country

Published:Wednesday | July 26, 2017 | 12:15 AMRomario Scott
Jamaica ambassador to Canada, Janice Miller, receiving the 2017 Governor General's Achievement Award from Sir Patrick Allen on behalf of Bishop Glenroy Duffus during the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Sunday.
Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Ramocan.
Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks
Participants in the Jamaica 55 Diaspora 2017 Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston yesterday
Butch Hendrickson (centre), chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Baking Company, chats with Earl Jarrett (right) chief executive officer of Jamaica National Group and chairman of the Conference; and Ambassador Curtis Ward at the Jamaica 55 Diaspora 2017 Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on Monday
Her Excellency Lady Allen (left) pauses for a photo with recipients of the 2017 Governor General's Achievement Award Tanesha Avagaye Westcarr and Vendrys Henry from the United Kingdom during the Jamaica 55 Diaspora 2017 Conference on Sunday
Members of the Jamaica College musical group, The Boy Band, delivering a crowd rocking performance at the opening ceremony of the Jamaica 55 Diaspora 2017 Conference held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in St Andrew on Sunday.
Sharing a moment at the Jamaica 55 Diaspora 2017 Conference opening ceremony on Sunday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in St Andrew are (from left): Earl Jarrett, chief executive officer of the Jamaica National Group and chairman of the conference; Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Dr. Peter Phillips, leader of the Opposition; and Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
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Ambassadors from the three main regions populated by Jamaicans are in the island participating in the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference, which comes to a close today at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

Speaking with The Gleaner on Sunday, during the opening ceremony held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, the ambassadors shared their expectations for the conference.

Janice Miller, Jamaica's high commissioner to Canada, contended on Sunday that the opening ceremony set a good stage for what was to be expected from the conference.

"We knew that the conference was going to be exciting and engaging," Miller declared.

"I think there is going to be a rich and vibrant discussion. the programme itself, when you look at the topics that are going to be covered - health, education, crime and security, entrepreneurship, opportunities for investment - I think we are going to have a conference that is very rich in discussion, but more importantly, one with actionable and implementable outcomes."

For George Ramocan, Jamaica's high commissioner to the United Kingdom, a renewed commitment to Jamaica was on full display at the opening ceremony.

"You could feel that there was a renewal and a re-commitment by the Diaspora to truly participate in Jamaica's development. I think there is a sort of readiness on the ground as we participate in this conference," Ramocan said.

He added that, from this year's conference, he wanted it to be very clear how the Diaspora can participate as "they are ready".

"What will be very good is if we can make it clearer and clearer how the Diaspora can participate. I really want to see engagement."

 

IT IS ENCOURAGING

 

Audrey Marks, Jamaica's ambassador to the United States, shared the sentiments of her colleague ambassadors, describing the spirit and vibe of the opening ceremony as "encouraging".

Marks told The Gleaner she wanted to hear the priorities of the Diaspora.

"I am listening to hear, from the Diaspora, the sort of 1, 2, 3 main areas that they want to put their resources in - their time, their energy, any material resources that they have. I want to hear how we can get to implementing these initiatives and we will work with them to ensure it gets done," Marks said.

"My priority is to ensure that it is not another talk shop."

At the end of Sunday's opening ceremony, it was reported that more than 1,200 persons from the Diaspora had registered to participate in the conference.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com