Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Give the Jamaican diaspora a vote

Published:Wednesday | June 15, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer

EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN of the United Kingdom-based Facilitators For a Better Jamaica (FFBJ), Sylbourne Sydial, says issues concerning the diaspora convention set for June 15 to 17 at Sunset Jamaica Grande are still unresolved, despite the go-ahead to stage the event.

One such bone of contention is the issue of electing advisory board members.

Responding to questions posed by The Gleaner from his home in England last week, Sydial said there needs to be a fair process of electing advisory board members in order for the board to be effective.

"Should the ministry have special appointed advisers separate from elected board members (even) as this is creating serious conflict of interest?" Sydial questioned.

However, Sydial believes that the most important issue at this time is the coming together of the Jamaican diaspora.

He said the Jamaican diaspora was interested in helping to bring business to Jamaica and suggested an improved 'free-zone' area as a possibility.

"Similar to Garmex Industry (Free Zone), but with some improvements. Invite countries with resources/capital to bring their products to Jamaica to be developed. This will provide jobs for Jamaicans," he suggested.

The FFBJ executive chairman is also suggesting that the Government review, and, possibly, make changes to rules governing dual citizenship.

"Other countries are eager to recruit and grant citizenship to our most talented and educated. Why do we not follow in their footsteps by embracing our very own, who have sought and obtained knowledge and much needed skills and wish to return home and use same to help make Jamaica a better country?"

On the matter of overseas Jamaicans voting in Jamaican elections, Sydial said the Government needs to address the issue.

According to Sydial: "This was raised on the floor at the 2004 and 2006 conference, and yet it is not an area which the government has taken serious. Once someone has a Jamaican passport, and a citizen of Jamaica, people overseas should be able to vote and leave the choice to the Jamaican overseas as to whether or not they want to exercise such right."

He said the Jamaican diaspora was keen on supporting the country.