The Jamaican Diaspora – Building an Operational Framework
The movement of people across borders is not new. It is an issue that has been with us from time immemorial.
In the case of Jamaica the majority of its people were initially forced labourers. Slaves who were carried across the high seas by Europeans who were interested in exploiting the wealth of the country.
In later years the descendants of slaves in Jamaica used their free status to seek jobs in other country.
Overtime, thousands of Jamaicans traveled to other countries, including to the United Kingdom in search of a better life.
Currently, just fewer than one million Jamaicans live in the United Kingdom.
In total over 3 million Jamaicans live outside of Jamaica, making it one of the largest diaspora when compared to its homeland population of roughly the same size.
The nature of the relationship between Jamaica and its diaspora manifest itself in many different ways.
The book titled, The Jamaican Diaspora – Building an Operational Framework, examines the nexus between Jamaicans at home and abroad.
In doing so, it outlines recent attempts by different Governments of Jamaica to put in place structures to strengthen the relationship with Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica.
One of the critical elements in the attempt to bring both sides together is a two yearly diaspora conference that began in 2004.
The conference allows for the two sides to share views and ideas on how best to harness the potential of the diaspora to enhance national development.
The book captures presentations by a number participants at the initial conferences.
The aim is to help readers to better understand many of the issues relevant to Jamaica diaspora relations.
by DELANO FRANKLYN
Senator, Minister of State
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade