Wed | Nov 29, 2023

In defence of the diaspora

Published:Friday | March 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

I am responding to a letter to your newspaper of March 25, by Nicholas Stephenson titled, 'Diaspora should act more, speak less'. This writer has so many distortions, half-truths and innuendoes that we would have done free speech an injustice to allow it to go unattended.

The writer states that Jamaicans in the diaspora need to put their money where their mouths are. I must reiterate to the writer that remittance is only second to tourism in foreign exchange flowing to the island. Furthermore, since part of tourism earnings is subjective, it is not an exact science calculation what the true earnings are.

The writer went on to say that the diaspora needs to invest capital in the island. I am not yet privy to the statistics, but I am willing to take a gamble Jamaicans in the diaspora funded most of the non-government homes built in Jamaica in the last 10 years. I witness first hand where, in some rural districts, the homes constructed by members of the diaspora are the only sources of employment for many youths.

The writer again, in confusion, is reminding diaspora to buy Jamaican products like Red Stripe beer. The mother of all stores in the US - Walmart - is now selling Red Stripe Beer. Jamaicans, including me, are the biggest supporters. As a matter of fact, I see supermarkets in Jamaica with more foreign goods than some supermarkets in South Florida.

I fully agree that the diaspora is capable of doing more, but again, many are fearful of the high probability of getting robbed and killed on returning home.

I am, etc.,