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Consul General Highlights Contributions of Overseas Jamaicans – New York

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Consul General in New York, Dr. Basil K. Bryan, has said that the contributions of overseas Jamaicans are having a significant impact on development in Jamaica.

Addressing a meeting of Jamaican nationals from the Northeast region of the United States (US), at the Consulate in Manhattan on March 11, Dr. Bryan said that Jamaicans, “continue to do us proud wherever they make their home, in such areas as representational politics, business, sports, academia, arts, the sciences and the service industry”.

“Even more impressive is the contribution that the Diaspora community has made and continue to make. Their invaluable contributions and assistance in cash and kind have had significant impact in diverse areas such as education, community development outreach, health services and disaster relief,” he said.

The meeting, which was attended by Jamaicans from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, was convened against the background of the upcoming biennial conference of the Jamaican Diaspora in June in Jamaica, and the need for ideas and other inputs in the formulation of programmes and policies dealing with the overseas community.

Dr. Bryan pointed out that the Northeast region comprised the largest concentration of Jamaicans living outside the country, and that he was expecting a large delegation from the region at the conference.

“We want something to come out of this meeting, so we can influence how the agenda for the June conference is shaped, but we need to work in unity,” he said.

Jamaicans at the meeting who represented alumni associations, community organizations, professional groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the clergy, spoke on such issues as, social disintegration, migration, corruption, education, crime and violence, the economy, healthcare, government bureaucracy.

They expressed the hope that their concerns and suggestions would “get past the talk stage and be part of the action plan”.

“If we can get together on any one particular issue, we can leverage a change in Jamaica. Our voices must be heard as we work to increase and unleash the potential of the Diaspora,” said Trevor U. Bowes, Loan Consultant with Washington Mutual in New York.

Mr. Bowes said he would press the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board to consider the establishment of Parish Pride Corporations as smaller units of the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation, to better address some of the more pressing concerns at that level.

The Consul General said he was hoping that the outcome document would provide some input to the agenda for the upcoming conference, “so that together, we can contribute to the progress and development of our beloved homeland, Jamaica”.

Source: NEW YORK, (JIS): Thursday, March 16, 2006

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