Several targets set at first Jamaican Diaspora Conference have been achieved

KINGSTON, Jamaica – With just over a month before the staging of the second Diaspora Conference, State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn, is reporting that several of the proposals, which were put forward by delegates at the inaugural conference held two years ago, have been achieved.

Among them, he said, are establishment of trade councils outside of Jamaica and the creation of a website.

Addressing journalists at a press conference held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Thursday (May 11) to launch the 2006 Jamaican Diaspora Conference, Senator Franklyn listed a number of objectives, which were mandated by overseas Jamaicans, that have since been attained.

“We were mandated at that conference to establish a website.we have established that website. We were mandated at that conference to identify a day to become Jamaican Diaspora Day, around which celebrations would take place.we have now identified that day which is June 15,” he outlined.

Senator Franklyn further informed, that the proposal made in 2004 for the establishment of overseas trade councils, had since become a reality. “We were mandated by the conference to establish trade councils outside of Jamaica,” he said, explaining that these trade councils were intended to function as “catchment groups to attract businesses to Jamaica.” To date, he said, three trade councils have been established in the United States.

With regard to the establishment of lobby groups, which would be proactive on matters and issues affecting Jamaica, Senator Franklyn said, “the United Kingdom Diaspora community has demonstrated that kind of aggressive involvement in terms of how they have assisted us, in respect of the sugar lobby outside of Jamaica.”

Another recommendation stemming from the delegates of the inaugural conference, he added, was the establishment of a Jamaican Diaspora Foundation, which would act as an oversight body. Following discussions with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus, the State Minister said it was agreed that the foundation would be housed on the campus.

The biennial Diaspora Conference will be from June 15 to June 16 at the Jamaica Conference Centre downtown Kingston under the theme: ‘Unleashing the Potential’. It is expected to attract 500 participants from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Central America, Africa and the Caribbean.