CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Wednesday, April 6th
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s another great day to be alive and well, and with all protocols having already been observed, I add my personal thanks to you for joining the conversation.
By my calendar, it’s nine weeks away from the Jamaica Diaspora Conference, and for the sake of clarity, I will break it down for you. The Jamaican Diaspora in the USA, has three regions, Northeast, Midwest and West. This conference will deal with the Northeast region from Rhode Island in the north to Virginia in the south, taking in 11 states with the tri-state area (NY,NJ,CT) serving as the epicenter. No magic there!
The date is set, the venue and agenda confirmed and by my guess, I will get some information soon, on who the speakers are.
I am drawn by the theme of the conference; Building a United Diaspora for Growth and Prosperity in Jamaica, but I’m not feeling the overall topics and discussion sessions, unless there will be ‘subsets’ to be announced later.
I see a listing of the usual ‘suspects’ but no mention of the troublesome ones, the ones that aid national development. Growth and prosperity in Jamaica today, is hinged squarely on national security and to be ultra specific; crime reduction/prevention, corruption, unemployment, scamming, aided and abetted by a justice system that is fair to all.
If you ask me, and I know I am going to get into trouble for this, but..healthcare is tired, education is tired, the Jamaican clergy are cowards, because they have allowed politics to take away the pulpit; immigration and deportation, worse tired!
Jamaica does not have a problem with immigration and/or deportation, just ask the Trinidad and Tobago governments of the past and present. Jamaicans are the problem, so much so that they are now calling for a re-write of the Treaty of Chaguaramas.
To begin with, this conference will unite just a section of the USA/Jamaica Diaspora. And now that a new government is in office, a government that said it is open to representation of the overseas constituency at some level of government, where is that on the agenda and who will lead that charge?
I do not want to come there and hear a roomful of misfits, arguing over who is doing this and that and the devil knows what, for healthcare, education, or what exciting investment opportunities await some ‘fool’ with money!
I would be very careful of that word ‘prosperity’ in the current context because if you ask me, Jamaicans at home are very prosperous and they will let you know in a New Kingston heartbeat. Both sides used it to their advantage/disadvantage in the just concluded general elections.
My point here is that this is the very same agenda that was presented and used in Montego Bay last summer, so am I now to assume that those papers will just be dusted off and entered as new evidence of work being done to bridge the gap, to unite the Diaspora?
A conference in the USA in general and New York City in particular, should spend some time on looking at ways to strengthen existing services and broaden the scope of the Jamaican Consulate, there on Third Avenue, in Manhattan. Where is that on the agenda?
Do we know who is on the short list to be the next Consul General? Will that person be a political lackey, as happened so often in the past? And if US$2 billion means so much to the national development agenda, why not more openness to such appointment(s)? These are matters that will seek to unify a ‘scattered’ Diaspora, crying out for inclusiveness and inclusivity, beyond the mendicant approach that now obtains.
I have maintained from day one, in this forum and elsewhere, that the Diaspora will always be seen as dysfunctional as long as it continues to be used as a political football.
En otros palabras (In other words), the Diaspora must be at the stage where it becomes the dictator, not the dictatee. LOL. And that means having a structure and autonomy over your affairs.
Why is there not a closer working relationship between the overseas missions and the Diaspora Advisory Boards? Growth and prosperity for Jamaica is nothing new and I’m sure that that remit identifies and resonates with both entities?
Hate to say it but if Oliver does his homework, he will have too much fun hosting the closing ceremony. And I will be the fly on the wall. SMH.
I hope the April showers here in the south bring delightful May flowers.
That’s today’s conversation. You have the last word. Share your thoughts.