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Diaspora urged not to shy away from leadership roles

Published:Thursday | June 20, 2019 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer

Elections for the post of Miami-Dade County mayor are more than a year away – August 25, 2020, to be exact – but when attorney-at-law Marlon Hill came calling at the 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, he made his intentions quite clear.

In Florida, there are 67 counties, each with their own form of governance, and where the largest Miami-Dade County is governed by a strong mayor and 13 county commissioners. Hill is banking on the votes of Jamaicans who live there to give his campaign a boost for one of those 13 county commission districts.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis Moss, who took office in 1993, is restricted by term limits from running again, and Hill is seeking to replace him.

He insisted that representation matters and that every immigrant community goes through a process of acclimatisation, assimilation, and integration, and the time has come for more Jamaicans to step into more leadership roles in the private sector, philanthropy, and government.

“I think it’s very important for us when we emigrate to become part of the community ... and don’t sit idly by and watch things happen,” Hill noted.

“When we are more engaged, then it’s a benefit for Jamaica. People look at social or civic engagement as being altruistic, but it’s really about creating value. Value is not just about making money in the private sector, but creating value in various aspects of our communities, whether in health, education, small business, the environment. The more that we participate, we can create value. Where you can create value around a Jamaican, it’s a benefit to Jamaica,” Hill said.