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Canadian Diaspora group totally committed to Jamaica

Published:Saturday | July 11, 2015 | 10:51 AMAdrian Frater
Dr Beverley Foster preparing medication for some of the persons who turned out at the Flankers Health Centre, St James, to benefit from the free health care that was on offer from the Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation during their recent visit.

While the sixth Biennial Diaspora Conference, which was recently held in Montego Bay, St James, was primarily aimed at creating linkages and opening up investment opportunities for the members of the Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation, it was all about giving back for them.

"As a medical professional living in Canada, it gives me a special thrill to be able to give back to Jamaica," said Tiney Beckles, a registered nurse who is based in Ontario, Canada. "We understand the needs of our people, so it makes it easy for us to help."

The Canadian group, which was led by Kingsley Gilliam, the director of social services and health for the Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation, provided health care in several parishes. However, for Beckles, the experience in Flankers was special.

"The experience in Flankers was very good ... we were able to provide numerous persons with high-quality health care and medications," said Beckles. "It was just so wonderful to see the look of appreciation on the different faces as we did our best to help those who needed medical help."

While they are now back in their adopted homeland, the Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation is already making plans for their next trip to Jamaica as the urge to keep on serving remains quite strong.

"We are totally committed to Jamaica ... although we live outside of Jamaica, Jamaica is still our home," emphasised Beckles. "We are all quite passionate about Jamaica."

staying focus

While the Mapping Jamaica's Diaspora Project, which was designed to create an operational thread across the diaspora has not been going well with just a mere 2,000 applicants signing up, it has not affected the focus of the Canadian group.

"We will always be coming back to Jamaica, it is both a duty and a responsibility to help our people," said Beckles.

Having left their imprint on Flankers and the other health facilities they visit, plus initiatives such as a workshop and seminar they conducted in Lucea, Hanover, the Canadian diaspora group, which featured nursing professor, Hyacinth Jackson, is ready to come back and do more good for Jamaica.