Diaspora Jamaicans Invest Heavily in Their Homeland

Because remittance is a unilateral transfer of wealth, for which the Jamaican people and government do not work for and they do not have to pay it back, and there is no interest, it is time that our policy makers start seeing it as a form of direct investment, Direct Remittance Investment (DRI). It also plays a significant role in ensuring the stability of our financial institutions.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs- “Obviously it (remittance) comes into the country as foreign exchange receipts and therefore is accounted for in the calculation of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). If we consider that the Net International Reserves (NIR) are now somewhere in the region of US$2.1 billion, it tells you the size of the contribution that the Diaspora is making to Jamaica,” Mr. Brown said.

During the 2008 recession which lasted from 2008-2012, the Jamaican economy was kept afloat by the commitment of the Jamaican Diaspora to the economic development of their homeland. During this time period, Direct Remittance Investment (DRI) outpaced Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) by a rate of 4:1. Since 1990’s the total in Direct Remittance Investment (DRI) inflows is estimated at some US$ 34.1 billion while Direct Foreign Investment (FDI) accounted for only US$11.8 billion in total over the same time period.

It is incumbent on the Jamaican government to dispell the myth that Jamaicans overseas do not invest in their homeland. It is very important to let the people know that Jamaican oversea including Micheal Lee-Chin contributes more to the Jamaican Economy than any non-Jamaican foreign investors including the Chinese. We are a collective of “every little cocoa full basket” as our strength as Jamaican is in unity and love of country. Successive governments have given China, the IMF and recently Mr. Lee-Chin significant policy discretion to impact the future of the island, it is only fair that the Diaspora be given the opportunity to also help shape that future by way of voting in order that Jamaicans can return  home to a prosperous and striving island where people can be free to live without fear of political victimization and crime. I would like to get the views of all Jamaicans on diaspora voting considering a number developing countries especially in Africa has taken important steps to allow their citizens overseas to have representation in their parliaments.

China is aware that if overseas Jamaican are allowed to vote, their influence on the government in light of recent scandals would be restricted. A government elected by an uninformed critical mass of voters in garrison communities won’t demand accountability.  “It was recognized that the (Jamaican) government had no power over the Diaspora and therefore, could not compel the Diaspora to comply with its wishes or demands; therefore participation would have to be based on a partnership between Jamaicans in the Diaspora and the government of Jamaica”. Therefore, it is for this reason diaspora voting so crucial to the development of Jamaica, our vote cannot be bought or coerced by Dons.

Another issue which is so central to this goal is the continued negation of our dual citizen a ploy my China to deny their diaspora fundamental rights; http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21710264-worlds-rising-superpower-has-particular-vision-ethnicity-and-nationhood-has,  appears to be the intent of the government’s “Global Diaspora Migrant Card” initiative as outlined in the Economic Growth Council (EGC) report.  The so-called Diaspora Advisory Boards have failed in their basic duty to represent the diaspora by not place this basic demand on the government to stop its immigration officers from asking questions like; Whats the purpose of your visit?, how long are going to stay, and stamping your passport “not permitted to work”, when regardless of which passport you are travelling on; British, USA or Canadian they all identify your place of birth as Jamaica. These are legitimate traveling documents, not migrant cards.

After living and working in the USA for over fives years, I was never was treated like this, upon my entry into Canadian the only thing they confirm is where I will be staying in Canada upon my return or visits and how long I was away. It would be easier and cost effective to issue a Jamaican Passport specifically for the Diaspora which carries all the rights of citizenship than a migrant card which reminds of South Africa Apartheid State denationalization of their people.

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