White Paper on Diaspora almost ready for submission

Thursday, November 08, 2018

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STATE Minister in the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ministry Senator Pearnel Charles Jr says that a White Paper on the National Diaspora Policy will be submitted to Cabinet in short order.

He said the ministry and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) were working together to refine the draft.

“So, hopefully, it will move quickly, so that we can have a firm and concrete diaspora policy,” he told the ministry's quarterly press briefing at its Dominica Drive headquarters in New Kingston, yesterday.

The policy provides the framework for enhancing the principle of mutuality between Jamaica and the diaspora.

It is aligned to the goals articulated in the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica, which is aimed at creating a framework for Jamaica to achieve developed country status within 12 years, as well as national priority documents such as the Medium-Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework.

Turning to measures to increase engagement with the diaspora, Senator Charles said a Safety and Security Handbook for Returning Residents has been published by the Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and has been distributed to overseas networks.

The handbook is expected to increase and improve sharing of accurate information between Jamaica and its diaspora, particularly those who have permanently returned, with the goal of significantly reducing challenges faced in the resettlement process.

Senator Charles said that a meeting was held with head of Jamaica Customs Velma Ricketts Walker and her team in October to explore avenues of cooperation between the agency and the diaspora.

“One of the main concerns and challenges we have received relates to our entrepreneurs and philanthropists having difficulties in getting products and items through customs,” he said.

“So, over the next few months we have agreed to partner in developing a communications strategy that should break down in simple terms and clarify a lot of the issues for those persons who are seeking to utilise customs to send any goods to Jamaica,” he noted.

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