Foreign minister encourages Jamaicans overseas to register at Missions

Saturday, September 14, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, is calling on Jamaicans who live, work or travel overseas to register with the country's Missions so that they can be easily located during times of emergency.

Senator Johnson Smith, who was delivering a statement to the Senate on Friday, following the recent devastation of several islands in The Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian, said efforts are continuing to reach the estimated 8,000 Jamaicans in that country.

“When you travel, register at the Missions of Jamaica in the country where you are either travelling, living or working. Register with the Honorary Consul, the Embassy or High Commission, so they know that you are there,” the Minister urged.

She argued that while some persons register at the various overseas Missions, the Bahamas experience, where communications are down, calls for a formal process of knowing where Jamaicans reside so that the Government can help in assisting family members at home to ascertain the safety of their loved ones more speedily.

“We are looking at creating a formal template, and to work with Caribbean airlines and travel agents, to help outgoing persons to be more conscious because whenever there is a national disaster, the ability to make contact with you is very important,” she told the Upper House.

Johnson Smith, who is also the Leader of Government Business, said while the Administration is actively promoting national and private efforts to support The Bahamas as they recover from the dislocation caused by the hurricane, it is also “making efforts” to support the Jamaican community there.

She pointed out that Jamaica's Honorary Consul in Nassau, Terrel Butler, is closely monitoring persons who have contacted the ministry, and coordinating relief efforts with Jamaicans on the ground, and identifying those who have been impacted by the storm.

The minister said several of the country's overseas Missions are coordinating relief efforts to help Jamaicans in The Bahamas, and persons can call the Consular Affairs Department at the ministry at (876) 472-3584 during and outside of normal working hours to get more information. They can also send WhatsApp messages and photographs.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is also coordinating an initiative aimed at providing support to The Bahamas, and the minister is advising that “it is not logistically feasible at this times” for them to accept items, so persons should only donate cash.


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