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Jamaicans in US Diaspora Energized by 5th Biennial Conference

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The 5th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference has energised the base of the Diaspora community in the Southern United States, who are now hoping to capitalise on the business and social enterprise opportunities that emerged at the 2013 event.

The Montego Bay, June 16-19 conference, held under the theme, “A Nation on a Mission: Jamaica-Diaspora Partnerships for Development,” welcomed more than 600 overseas delegates from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries around the globe

The Hon. Sandra Grant Griffiths, Jamaican Consul General to the Southern United States, declared the conference as one of the most proactive in the series of Biennial conferences.

“It was one of the best in terms of the atmosphere, the energy and the outcomes that we expect; particularly the fact that the policy framework discussed will lead to a post conference implementation committee,” she stated.

The Consul General acknowledged that the conference had a vibrancy that was reflected in the marketplace, which allowed delegates the opportunity to learn more about the Jamaican economy and trading opportunities available.

“I think the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and JAMPRO took a very proactive approach to provide delegates with a schedule of business opportunities, which they could examine with the prospect of engagement,” she added.

Mrs. Grants Griffiths also acknowledged the efforts by delegates to support education outreach projects, including a commitment to build a basic school in St Mary, through the Food for the Poor charity,

“Interventions have been valid, and delegates from the Southern US, where there are some 55 active independent alumni associations, are focused on education and delivering educational support to Jamaica,” she noted.

Janice McIntosh, Chief Representative Officer for JNBS Florida, said the conference allowed Jamaica National to continue its dialogue with members of the Diaspora, particularly those seeking to provide assistance through Florida-based projects.

She explained that. “A greater level of reciprocity will allow the alumni associations to open accounts with organisations, such as Jamaica National, to facilitate fundraising activities, as well as the payment of membership fees, which can then be dispersed locally through their organisation’s network.”

Pamela Watson, CPA and member of the Southern United States delegation, said one of the highlighted for her was the level of preparation of the panelists in the plenary sessions.

“They were also willing to participate in discussions long after their presentations were over, especially the government officials, who were present,” she stated.

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