Diaspora A Reservoir of Capital, Skills and Expertise – PM

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Jamaican diaspora represents a powerful reservoir of capital, relationships, skills and expertise that can be harnessed to assist in driving the country’s development.

He was speaking at Tuesday’s (April 4) launch of the 2017 Jamaica Diaspora Conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St. Andrew.

Mr. Holness noted that members of the diaspora have a “fervent” loyalty and passion for Jamaica, which is evidenced by their generous inputs in key sectors such as education, health, sports and community development.

He cited contributions of approximately $514 million (US$4 million) for the health sector, and some $30.5 million (US$240,000), which was facilitated through the National Education Trust (NET) in 2016.

“These contributions have a profound impact on these sectors and we are indeed very grateful for the continued support of our diaspora. I encourage our diasporans to continue and to expand on this tradition of giving back to Jamaica,” he urged.

Mr. Holness said he anticipates diaspora support for the Government’s Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) initiative, which he announced during his 2017/18 Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives.

The HOPE initiative will see the Government targeting educational and job opportunities for young persons, aged 19 to 24 years, who are not employed or enrolled in school or any programme of training.

This undertaking will involve skills training through apprenticeship work programmes, personal development and responsibility, and citizenship and volunteerism.

“We look forward to diasporans volunteering their services when they are visiting or even to work with the Government in support of some of our HOPE initiatives, particularly as it relates to training our unattached young people,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said Jamaica’s engagement with the diaspora is a two-way process aimed at ensuring that the links forged continue to evolve and remain relevant and vibrant.

“It is not about what our diaspora can do for us only… We should be able to do something for our diaspora as well.  It is about what we can do together. Both sides of the relationship are equally important in order to create a resilient and robust bond. In a sustainable and mutually rewarding way, we will ensure a vibrant Jamaican community with benefits flowing in all directions,” he noted.

This year’s seventh staging of the biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference is being held under the theme ‘Partnering for Growth’.

The Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference, being organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, will be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, from July 23 to 26.

Article by: Douglas McIntosh
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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