By Derrick A. Scott
NEW YORK, USA -- Those attending the fifth biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference in Montego Bay, from June 16-19 this year, will hear firsthand how the government and stakeholders are dealing with such issues as national security/immigration, the US Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act (FATCA), healthcare and education among other sectors.
Addressing Jamaican nationals at the USA/NE sector launch of the conference on Tuesday, April 2, at the Jamaica Consulate in New York City, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Arnaldo Brown said that in addition to investment opportunities, the conference represents a win-win proposition for both the homeland (Jamaica) and the Diaspora.
In keeping with the theme of the conference – A Nation on a Mission: Jamaica-Diaspora Partnership for Development –Brown noted that Jamaica has done extremely well in its partnership with the Diaspora. He called the upcoming conference, “a landmark one and a turning point for Jamaica,” which is wide open for business (trade and investment) opportunities.
Distancing himself from what he termed, “the hat in hand mentality”, Brown, who has portfolio responsibility for Diaspora Affairs, offered that the conference will break new and exciting ground in a number of areas including the unveiling of the draft Diaspora policy document.
“There is room for more investors, so let us begin to capitalize on the tremendous benefits of Brand Jamaica. Other groups see the (potential) gold mine; however we must move in and mine it for ourselves. Jamaicans working together can make Jamaica better,” Brown noted.
He said that the newly introduced Diaspora Marketplace Exposition would allow exhibitors to present business and investment opportunities to persons attending the conference, which will be held at the new Montego Bay Convention Center (MBCC) at Rose Hall.
Major projects on display at the conference will include; the Global Logistics Hub, Agro Parks, the redevelopment of downtown Kingston, ICT Parks and partnerships for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
Also speaking at the launch, Jamaica Diaspora advisory board member for the northeast USA, Irwin Clare, in his remarks, emphasized the importance of the Diaspora preparing to capitalize on the opportunities for partnership that will be presented at the conference.
“This conference is not being presented as a ‘cap in hand’ mentality by the government, but more so an invitation to the Diaspora to explore and sign on to the myriad of business ventures that are available in Jamaica,” Clare said.
Jamaica’s consul general to New York, Herman Lamont, called on members of the Diaspora in the northeast to make every effort to attend the upcoming Diaspora conference. He said that the conference will give participants an opportunity to hear first-hand how the government is addressing a number of problems facing the country as well as to make your input.
Similar sector launches have so far been held in London, Miami and Canada by Brown who has responsibility for the Diaspora.