I join with you in observing Diaspora Day for the first time in my capacity as
Minister with responsibility for Diaspora Affairs. It is my distinct honour and
privilege to pay tribute to the estimated three (3) million-strong Jamaican
Diaspora members dispersed across the globe and wonderfully represented
on every continent. I extend best wishes to you and your families and
sincerely hope that you will have an opportunity soon to visit Jamaica to
experience the joys and many offerings of our beautiful and beloved island
The Government and the Diaspora
As part of the efforts to deepen our engagement with the Diaspora in a
holistic manner, the Government of Jamaica continues to implement new
mechanisms designed to further strengthen its relationship with the
Diaspora. In the recent past, these have included the provision of incentives
for Returning Residents; hosting Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conferences;
recognizing Diasporans through the Governor-General’s Achievement
Awards; and the establishment of structures to streamline Diaspora
Philanthropy. These initiatives will continue in earnest as they have proved
to be very effective over time.’
These efforts will be given a fillip by the passage and implementation of the
National Diaspora Policy, which will support the further harnessing of the full
potential of the skills and expertise of Jamaicans overseas in the purist of
Jamaica’s sustainable development.
In addition to these avenues for engagement, last year, we successfully
established the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC) and the Global
Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council (GJDYC) which were deliverables of the 8th
Biennial Diaspora Conference held in June 2019.
We value the voices and role of our young people in shaping the sustainable
development of Jamaica. We are extremely proud of the activities of the
Youth Council which has undertaken countless activities in the past 18
months in the midst of the global pandemic. We applaud their efforts to use
their platform constructively and welcome their enthusiasm and passion to
voice concerns and present proposals for the growth, development and
sustainability of Jamaica.
During the height of the pandemic, members of the Diaspora responded to
the call to action to assist those in the community who were severely
impacted and desperately in need of food, medication, accommodation and
emotional support. The generous response of the Diaspora was a welcome
source of relief. Similarly, the overwhelmingly positive response to the “One
Device for Every Child” campaign initiated by the Ministry of Education,
Youth and Information, has been a lifeline to students as they adjusted to
online platforms for learning.
We also commend you for continuing to support your families back home, to
the extent that remittances actually increased during the pandemic, defying
forecasts by international financial institutions of a global decline. This
speaks volumes to the depth of your commitment to your families and to
Jamaica. We invite the Diaspora to remain engaged as the future is bright
and full of promise.
On this Diaspora Day, we salute you, the members of our Diaspora, who
continue to be good ambassadors for Jamaica and partners in pursuit of
sustainable development for Jamaica, Land We Love!
Happy Diaspora Day!