Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh has invited Jamaicans in the Diaspora to help in the quest for increased economic growth and development for Jamaica.
Addressing scores of exhibitors, investors and participants at Friday’s inaugural Jamaican Diaspora Investment Conference & Trade Exposition at the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights Hotel, New Jersey, Minister Baugh said that the government’s policy of engagement with the Diaspora was more than just remittances.
“Our policy to engage and involve you in national development is many-faceted and comprehensive. It encompasses not just your remittances, your assistance in times of national disasters, your contributions in cash and kind to health, education and community development, for which we are both indebted and grateful. It takes in all aspects of nation building, of which a critical component is economic growth.”
Minister Baugh told the audience that Jamaica’s readiness to do business with the international community was a key indicator of the political and collective will of Jamaicans at home and overseas.
He said that the strong message was a reminder of “those special characteristics which define as a unique people and which drive us to be a nation of achievers, who have, time and time again, prevailed against incredible odds”.
Declaring that ‘Today’s Jamaica Means Business’, Minister Baugh said that it will take more than Jamaica’s strategic location on the doorstep of the North American mainland and its natural beauty to attract today’s discerning investor.
Potential investors, Minister Baugh noted, will be able to take fullest advantage of a literate and trained workforce, a well developed financial services sector, sophisticated telecommunications infrastructure and a modern road and highway network.
He stressed that the Diaspora was an important component and it should not be content merely as an observer.
“You are just as important in the investment agenda of our nation as our local and foreign investors. I urge you to capitalize on the advantages that are yours as Jamaicans. Do not only be observers of the investor confidence that Jamaica is enjoying, be participants in it.”
Minister Baugh cautioned that the focus of the Government is to attract investments in Jamaica in the areas of Information and Communications Technology, Agri-business & Manufacturing, Mining & Energy among other sectors.
Minister Baugh opined that the partnership between the Government and the Diaspora represents a wining combination and as such, was looking forward to doing business with the overseas community.
Minister Baugh who has portfolio responsibility for the Diaspora, also used the occasion to announce that Professor Rex Nettleford, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, will be asked to stay on as chairman of the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation Advisory Board.
Professor Nettleford reportedly handed in his resignation following the general elections held on September 3, this year.
The conference was staged under the theme, “Beautiful Beaches…Bountiful Business and presented by Celebrations Event & Meeting Management, LLC for the Jamaica Diaspora USA – Northeast sector.
Other conference presenters included; Gary Peart, CEO/Mayberry Investments Limited; Kirk Kennedy, Executive Director-Jamaica Trade & Invest; Jacob Flewelling, Investment Insurance Officer – Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Patrick Casserly, President/CEO – e-Services Group International; Donovan Stanberry, Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Agriculture & Lands, Jamaica; Aubyn Hill, CEO/Corporate Strategies Limited; Kenneth Guscott, Honourary Consul-Boston, MA; and Audley Knight, Regional Manager/Business Development – Scotiabank.