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PM Launches 7th Biennial Diaspora Conference

PM Launches 7th Biennial Diaspora Conference
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (3rd right), and Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith (3rd left), share a photo opportunity with representatives of the Jamaica Diaspora Conference’s Legacy Partners, during the launch of this year’s seventh staging of the biennial event at Jamaica House on Tuesday, April 4. From left are Jamaica National Group Deputy General Manager, Leon Mitchell; GraceKennedy Chief Executive Officer, Senator Don Wehby; Victoria Mutual Building Society President and Chief Executive Officer, Courtney Campbell; and J. Wray and Nephew Limited Production Director, Dwight Dalley. The event will be held at the Jamaica Conference, downtown Kingston, from July 23 to 26, under the theme ‘Partn
(Media Credit: R. Fraser)

KINGSTON (JIS) -- Prime Minister, the Most Hon Andrew Holness, on Tuesday (April 4) launched the seventh biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, slated for July 23 to 26. The ‘Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference’, which is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, will be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, under the theme ‘Partnering for Growth’. At a ceremony held at Jamaica House, which was streamed live to members of the diaspora in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, Mr Holness said that this year’s event has been reshaped to be more solutions-oriented and would target wider stakeholder involvement. He said the theme is consistent with the Government’s “laser-like” focus on achieving economic growth and job creation, reiterating that “it is all-inclusive growth that brings jobs”.

The Prime Minister pointed out that Jamaicans in the diaspora are keen to play their part, in this regard, through public and private investments, trade, knowledge transfer and in mentoring small-business owners.

He highlighted the works of the diaspora task forces in agriculture, education, crime intervention and prevention, and technology, adding that greater focus is also being placed on immigration issues.

“These focus areas give critical input for the conference as well as help to demonstrate best practices which may be incorporated into our strategic plans and programmes. It is our aim to use the conference to create networks, including building on the value of public-private partnerships that will redound to the benefit of Jamaica and Jamaicans,” the Prime Minister said.

He indicated that the conference will also form part of activities to commemorate Jamaica’s 55th Independence anniversary.

“It is strategic that the conference will be in July so that you can plan to stay for the celebrations in August. I know the sights and sounds generated throughout the season will serve to reinforce national pride and reawaken the nostalgia of a Jamaica we all dream of,” he told the local and global audience.

For her part, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said the vision and scope of the rebranded conference represented an affirmation of “attributes that are uniquely Jamaican”.

She noted that the building of sustainable, synergistic and symbiotic relationships with the diaspora is a fundamental component of Jamaica’s foreign policy “and is at the very heart of the Government’s economic growth agenda”.

“We look forward, therefore, to your full participation in the conference as we explore practical ways of partnering to position our country for the attainment of the level of development that it so greatly deserves,” Senator Johnson Smith added.

The launch also saw representatives of the conference’s four long-standing legacy partners – GraceKennedy, the Jamaica National Group, J. Wray and Nephew Limited and Victoria Mutual Building Society – renewing their commitments for this year’s staging.

The conference’s schedule includes church services to launch the week; the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards to recognise Jamaicans for outstanding service in their communities of residence overseas; a conference dialogue to facilitate an exchange of views and ideas on building a better and prosperous nation; A marketplace exposition to highlight the best of Jamaica’s culture and entertainment; a one-stop Government at Your Service facility and a youth forum that engages second-, third- and fourth-generation diaspora members.

The activities will culminate with the Diaspora Day of Service, which will see members being mobilised in projects that enable them to give back to their communities.