Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Golding appointed to diaspora board

Published:Monday | August 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Attorney Wayne Golding of Orlando, Florida has been elected board member of the Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board for southern United States.

Golding is set to immediately assume office, having secured the majority of votes from a final count of 1,237 ballots from the Jamaican diaspora across the 13 southern states.

The Rev Horace Ward, Rector, Holy Family Episcopal-Anglican Church in Miami Gardens, the interim Diaspora Board coordinator for the region, said the final count of ballots took place on Saturday.

In a Sunday Gleaner article last week, Golding complained about the urgent need to revitalise the diaspora, as many professionals of Jamaican orientation and extract were prepared to assist in advancing the country.

He stressed that while he was not casting any blame on any of the two major political parties in Jamaica, changes in political administration nearly three years ago had contributed to the problem.

Jamaicans frustrated

Golding said this resulted in many Jamaicans becoming frustrated with the process and signalled that the diaspora was ready to engage the Jamaican government in an advisory partnership capacity to advance the practical assistance that it had to offer.

Three candidates - Golding; Alexander Williams and Courtney McFarlane - handed their nominations for the volunteer, two-year position, and voting began on August four.

Golding secured 936 votes; Williams, 202 votes and McFarlane, 71.

While the discussions began in January, Ward said the process was done in a timely manner to engage the region.

"This is about building a process that serves to benefit all of Jamaican heritage at home and across the diaspora," he said.

All ballots received by closing time at 8 p.m. on Friday were checked, tabulated and verified by the independent panel. The committee also invited each candidate to provide one representative observer for the count.

Encouraged to participate

Voters of Jamaican heritage across the southern US were encouraged to participate in the process, which began early August. The 13-state region includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Voting was conducted both electronically and mail-in ballots, given the wide geographical area of that region.

The Diaspora Advisory Board arose out of the first Biennial National Diaspora Conference held in Kingston in June 2004. Attorney Golding will now join the team of the total seven board members required to represent the interest of Jamaican diaspora populated communities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, while maintaining close relationship with the Jamaican foreign missions and embassies in those regions as well as the Government and people in Jamaica.