Tangible outcomes expected from Diaspora conference

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Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson Smith says the upcoming Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference is expected to generate tangible outcomes which are implementable.

Johnson Smith, who is also a senator, gave this assurance against the background of what she noted were concerns among some stakeholders that the conference was a “talk shop”.

“It [has been] my intention, [since] I became minister with responsibility for the Diaspora, that we would change that and ensure that our conferences have direct outcomes which are implementable and specific,” she said.

“We will be reporting on results of the last [conference in 2017, in terms of] where we would have slipped and succeeded, and also looking at how we take these conference outcomes forward in an actionable way,” Johnson Smith added.

She was speaking with JIS News following the 2019 conference launch at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last week.

The event is slated for June 16 to 20 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, under the theme ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development’.

Senator Johnson Smith advised that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and its legacy partners are working to ensure that this year’s conference is “one of the best ever”.

“The ministry’s team is ready and the legacy partners are ready. We have more sponsors coming on board and everybody is very energised,” she said.

Senator Johnson Smith also said there will be a conference launch in New York tomorrow at the office of the Consulate General of Jamaica, beginning at 6:00 pm.

Additionally, she said a focus group meeting on the draft National Diaspora Policy will be held with a broad cross section of Jamaicans living in New York.

“We do intend that one of the significant outcomes of the conference is to finalise the consultations, so that we have a policy that’s ready for presentation to Cabinet and tabling in Parliament,” she said.

Johnson Smith also said that similar launches are slated for Miami and Toronto.

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