UK VOICE: Jamaicans gear up for Diaspora conference
More than 800 Jamaicans are expected to join forces in London to have their say at the third biennial Jamaican Diaspora UK (JDUK) conference which is being held on Diaspora Day, Saturday June 16th.
It’s a landmark year for Jamaica as it celebrates its 50th year of independence, along with the expectation of gold medals for the Jamaican track and field at the Olympics in July.
At a media launch held at Birmingham Council House, JDUK chair Ben Cunningham, said: “ It’s very symbolic that in our 50th year we’ll be working to shape the future together. It’s important to recognise all that we have done.
“We’re committed to ensuring this year’s conference delivers concrete proposals and action plans that are relevant and achievable.
“We will therefore continue to lobby both and UK and Jamaican governments to improve the well being of all Jamaicans both here and in Jamaica.”
The conference is being held at the Hotel Novotel, London West, Hammersmith, under the theme ‘Celebrating Jamaica at 50 and shaping the future together.’ A concert will be held after the main conference. The whole event is being sponsored by several organisations including Transpakship, Jampro, The Gleaner, Money Gram, the Jamaican Tourist Board, Victoria Mutual Money Transfer and Birmingham City Council.
Garry Peal, of Birmingham City Council who is the Jamaican Track and Field Team training camp co-ordinator told the launch: “Birmingham, along with its partner the University of Birmingham, is very proud to be the host city for the Jamaican athletes.
“They will arrive here in Birmingham on July 15 and are expected to stay between nine and 10 days at the university.”
Sasha Henry-Crawford, JDUK’s public relations officer said the conference would include 12 workshops on issues affecting Jamaicans such as air passenger tax, education, religious affairs, young people and improving the general Jamaican Diaspora initiative.
She said: “Our topics will be many and varied, particularly the issue over the new Prime Minister’s proposals to make Jamaica a republic – we need to discuss what impact that would have on us here.
“After the conference want to table an action plan for the diaspora to go forward which we will send to the Jamaican and UK Governments.”