Jamaican government seeking to harness the resources of its Diaspora
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Pearnel Charles Jr. (center), along with Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks flanked by heads of various Diaspora organizations. Minister of State in Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr. says the Jamaican government is planning to more strategically harness the vast amount of resources available within the Jamaican Diaspora. Minister Charles pointed out there are tremendous resources and once a way can be found to pool them for the good of Jamaica, the country stands to benefit tremendously.Need to improve communication flows Delivering the keynote address at a reception given in his honor by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, at the Embassy of Jamaica on Tuesday, June 5, Minister Charles said there was need to improve the communication that flows from Jamaica to the Diaspora so that members can have access to more accurate information about what is happening in Jamaica and how the Government can facilitate Jamaicans who support their country. First meeting with DiasporaIn his first direct interaction with the Diaspora in the USA, Minister Charles, who was recently appointed state minister with responsibility for the Diaspora, told the large audience “I want to carve out a new dispensation to find ways to have a mutually beneficial exchange between members of the Jamaican Diaspora and my ministry. I believe that there is still this mindset that the Diaspora must be the only one to give. However, this giving must be a two-way street.” He argued that the country must also give back to the diaspora.Invest in the homelandThe minister urged the Diaspora to look at investing in their homeland. “Now is the time to invest in Jamaica as there are myriad investment opportunities that await you in your homeland, so I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity.”Minister Charles reiterated that one of his new responsibilities is to serve members of the Diaspora. We now need to focus on connectivity, partnership and facilitation so that Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica not only feel – but know – that they are not just seen as members of the Diaspora but that they are an integral part of the development of their homeland.The special reception was attended by Diaspora representatives from New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware, Baltimore, Virginia and Washington DC. Minister Charles was in Washington to lead Jamaica’s delegation to the 48th Regular Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which ended on Tuesday night, June 5, 2018.