THE EDITOR, Sir:
This is an open letter to the Prime Minister of Jamaica on the Diaspora Board and Management.
Dear Madam Prime Minister,
AS YOU are fully aware, we are on the eve of the second Diaspora Conference which is to be held on June 15-16, 2006 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, of which over 500 delegates are expected to participate with 400 expected from the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The press report in the Sunday Herald, dated May 21, 2006, raises concerns about the credibility of the Diaspora Board in Florida and members question its operations, transparency and accountability.
Facilitators For a Better Jamaica (FFBJ) has been inundated with calls and requests from members of the wider Jamaican community to voice their concerns regarding disenfranchisement and delegate status to the conference. FFBJ and members of the U.K. Jamaican community have been raising our voices and at the time of writing this letter, we are still unsure if delegate status has been accorded to us. This is unfortunate. In recent days, the U.S.A. Jamaican community has expressed their dissatisfaction and discomfort with the Miami chapter of the Diaspora Board.
We have been watching with concern the work of the Diaspora Board and Management in the United Kingdom and the High Commissioner. The lines seem to have become blurred between the two entities and this is a very worrying development.
Madam Prime Minister, we are therefore calling upon you to take note of these concerns and ask for your intervention. FFBJ will not get into the tit for tat and the pedantics of who is to be blamed nor the inner dynamics of how delegate status is being distributed. But instead we are seeking to make sure that the Diaspora Board comes to terms with it responsibilities as to whose interest it represents. Is it that of a cross-section of Jamaicans living in the Diaspora or some other?
DO WHAT IS RIGHT
FFBJ implores you Madam Prime Minister to do what is right in the interest of accountability, transparency and fairness to protect the integrity of the various Diaspora Boards.
Jamaicans in the Diaspora are willing to support Jamaican initiatives but the Diaspora Board in the U.K. seems not to understand and appreciate its role or simply do not know or care.
We will leave you with the words of a disgruntled Jamaican and his perception of the Jamaican Diaspora Board in the U.K. "Yes, the usual 'clubby old school' type atmosphere, which lacks creativity and objectivity. The real people will be left out of the decision-making process ... as usual. Seems the only thing which can really save Jamaica, is a massive socio-political groundswell from the grassroots!"
May God bless you as you lead Jamaica into its next frontier and we look forward to your response.
I am, etc.,
Founder and Director
Facilitators For a Better Jamaica