The Jamaica diaspora is a term we hear bandied about a lot, a quick Yahoo search revealed this about the word [Diaspora] .The term: diaspora is used to refer to any people or ethnic population forced or induced to leave their traditional ethnic homelands.
As a Jamaican living abroad who wasn’t forced to leave my homeland I guess I am not truly a member of the Jamaican diaspora! Well enough of that, let’s not split hairs. The so-called Jamaican diaspora, whatever that is, has currently been meeting in Montego Bay between June 16-19 , 2013.
The Biennial Jamaica – Diaspora Conference, convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, is the global forum that connects Jamaicans from all over the world with Jamaicans in the home country every two years. The event seeks to strengthen existing linkages and networks, and to build alliances for Jamaica’s development and standing in the world.This year’s re-branded and totally revamped global forum, places special focus on Trade and Investment. It will seek to build on the legacy of JA 50 by exploring specific opportunities for the Diaspora, to expand their business interest in Jamaica through increased trade and investment. Participants will also engage in discussions about ways to expand the Diaspora’s contribution to Health and Education in Jamaica, both as individuals and organized groups. Conference 2013 holds special significance as it takes place within the celebratory period of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Political Independence. This 5th Biennial Conference has been re-calibrated to focus on Business, Trade and Investment, Philanthropy, Social Investment and Diaspora Diplomacy; and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will unveil a new Diaspora Policy.http://www.jamaicandiaspora.gov.jm/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=109&Itemid=554
I am a little mystified, maybe some of you my readers can apprise me of who makes up this group or any other diaspora group, where are the members recruited, who does the recruiting, where do they meet , what are the requirements for membership beyond being a Jamaican living abroad ? Has anyone ever asked any of you to be a part of their diaspora group? No..? Well me neither, so I went ahead and took the liberty to provide a link for you to judge for yourselves. I would be honored to hear what you think about this diaspora thing because it seem to me it’s just a name given to the monied friends of the power brokers in Jamaica. I don’t know for sure so I will await your views on this. Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in addressing the conference said that there can be no improvement in the fortunes of the country unless there is actually active participation of the Jamaican diaspora.(my words)! Now do you see why I visited the question of what diaspora means and who is a part of it in their context? If what I saw is representative of what they call diaspora, many of you and certainly me are not a part of it. Contextually it seem this is just a smoke-screen that is designed to fool Jamaicans living abroad into believing that we matter. It appears that it’s just a group of people from upper Saint Andrew, friends of the power-brokers, who seek to speak for you and I without our say-so.
Having gone through the info on their website I believe that the Administration has not even begun to understand the vast untapped resource, that is Jamaican living abroad.
They never will, like many Jamaicans at home and abroad the government(party neutral) are still stuck in the caste system which has defined Jamaica throughout it’s history. The true worth of our country are the average man on the streets, not the well to do bourgeoisie.