LETTER OF THE DAY - The diaspora can solve our economic woes!
THE EDITOR, Sir:
THE PROBLEM of redistributive economics is linked to the small size of Jamaica's middle class. But why is Jamaica's middle class so small, having historically been the most progressive British Caribbean nation up to the early 1970s? The reality is that this is not true!
In fact, Jamaica's middle class is quite large and is found residing in some of the world's most developed nations. They left in droves in the 1960s, '70s, and '90s to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families. Many who left Jamaica poor, through the new opportunities afforded in these developed nations, improved their social status, anchoring themselves in the middle and upper classes of these countries.
The middle class of Jamaica is the diaspora! And they are residing in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, as well as other parts of the Caribbean and Latin America. They are organised, they have resources and are clamouring to aid in the economic development of their homeland. The diaspora has been critical to Jamaica's economy through their provision of remittances, the contributions they make to education and health care via philanthropic enterprise. They also contribute directly and indirectly to tourism as, often times, the first contact that foreigners have with a Jamaican is usually one residing overseas, who peaks fascination and encourages foreigners to travel to Jamaica.
The diaspora is the biggest brand ambassador for the island. I also believe that if recognised through the electoral process, the diaspora may prove instrumental in addressing transnational crime and the negative international stereotyping of our people.
Jamaicans are historically and culturally an international people. Our electoral process must take this into consideration in a globalised world. There are enough examples of countries, developing and developed, around the world that give their nationals living overseas the right to vote in national elections. The means of technology is also available to enable this process in an efficient and cost-effective way. I, therefore, call upon the Jamaican Government to strengthen our democracy and secure economic stability. Let the diaspora vote, solve our economic woes!
CHRISTOPHER CORDELL GRAHAM