CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Monday, October 24th

Some wealthy and influential Jamaicans living in the Northeast USA, will gather in Queens, NY, at week’s end to be serenaded as trailblazers. They will be given awards that they paid for with their own money and told how patriotic they have been to the country of their birth.

They will be serenaded by some of Jamaica’s top diplomats overseas, servants too eager to get a face and some words out, ‘dat dem deh yah’, ‘dem deh pon street again’, that much of the due protocols might have been overlooked, in haste!

Here’s why. It’s the same ‘organization’ – for ease of reference here – that four months ago (June), staged the Tallawah Awards to close out an anemic Jamaica Diaspora/USA-NE regional conference, same place there in Queens. And just like how the Hillary and Donald presidential circus claim to be the best show in town and country after each debate sequel, so too you will hear that the conference was a success, was a success (sic), but based on the remit of the Diaspora Movement and especially in the USA/NE, that event was a colossal failure, hence the quick rewind!

Twenty-One (21) honorees, count them, twenty-one, and I wish someone could tell me what they have done for the Jamaica Diaspora here in these USA, a movement that after all these years and different levels of pontification, is still without a name, a face, a standard policy document and an operating base!

Let me be clear. With the exception of Rick Nugent, a Maryland resident and whose connection/affiliation is listed as NAJASO – National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations – which is what the Diaspora is not – I know all 20 others!

I know some folks are wondering out loud, how they were selected, what are the criteria. What is most interesting is that a Diaspora conference was held in their very backyard and they were not present, they were not there, could not be bothered, but here they are now, 21 of them, being summoned into a room to help a sinking ship get to shore before taking on more water. LMAO!

That’s all there is to this trailblazer awards scenario. Just think. Donald Trump thought it prudent to surround himself with four women who accused Hillary’s husband of misdeeds, no doubt claiming guilt by association. Look what’s happening? That same accusatory finger has boomeranged!

Are we at the stage where we need special interest individuals and groups to key an election victory and not a record of service and performance?

Here it is now that facing a growing chorus of no confidence and long overdue election, the current advisory board member is rolling the dice in a game of high stakes poker, in an effort to win another term in office!

If you are impressed/disappointed by those who made ‘the cut’, then what will you say about those who did not make ‘the cut?’.

Last week, I pointed to the fact that cover girl Kamina – I like her flow, I really do – while criss-crossing the continent, has kept decidedly quiet on any staging of the 7th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference in Jamaica in June. BTW, June 16, each year is gazetted as Jamaica Diaspora Day, globally! Did you know that?

She keeps harping on the need for engagement at the highest level and told last week’s Jamaica Christian Diaspora Conference in Montego Bay, that the Diaspora needs to do more in the areas of invest and economic growth for Jamaica.

Here’s part of the government’s news service report of her address to the conference.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith says the Diaspora represents a wealth of human capital and expertise, which Jamaica will utilize as part of its growth strategy.

She was addressing the Jamaica Christian Diaspora Conference at the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites in St. James on October 13.

Senator Johnson Smith said with this goal in mind, the newly created Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation has been mandated to harness all the country’s human resources, at home and abroad, to channel the way forward.

“This Ministry has been mandated to create a closer, more cohesive interface between certain critical public sector entities which have key roles in facilitating a faster and clearer path for investments,” the Minister explained.

She said of equal importance is the creation of the Economic Growth Council (EGC) which is charged with accelerating the implementation of projects to achieve an annual economic growth rate of at least five per cent within four years.

Senator Johnson Smith noted that the EGC has signaled its intention to harness the skills of the Diaspora as a key growth initiative.

“We are cognizant of the fact that the Diaspora represents a wealth of knowledge which can and must be leveraged. We have reviewed countries with best practices in Diaspora engagement and we are now determining the options most suitable in the Jamaican context,” she explained.

The Growth Council has also recommended the re-configuration of the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation into Global Connect Jamaica, which will serve as a Public-Private Partnership to facilitate and encourage the Diaspora to invest in Jamaica.


Ok, folks. So there you go. Her words, not mine! You can see that ‘nuff tings a gwaan fi di Diaspora’, so why the silence of a conference date? Is it because the ministry is re-working the policy document and re-configuring the foundation of the Foundation…after all these years?

Diaspora elections for Advisory Board Members (ABMs) are way past due and made all the more difficult by past ABMs who overstayed their welcome. This should not be another such occasion. There is word on the street that the current slate of ABMs were asked to stay on by the new JLP Administration but nobody will talk to me as to why.

What is the delay and why is it necessary to now tamper with due process. An election was held last year that was way past due. What should have happened then is simple. An election yes, with the proviso that the next election would be held on schedule.

That schedule was this past June. In the year that there is no conference in Jamaica, the spotlight and emphasis are shifted to localized (regional) conferences and that’s where elections must take place, not when you go to Jamaica for the global, biennial gathering!

So those who have blazed their trail need to understand what they are getting into on the weekend. This Diaspora Movement continues to sputter because it has not been able to shake itself of the partisan political shackles.

Every new administration, even with the same personnel, has a new agenda and so this fresh, new round of reasoning among community concerns regarding elections and the way forward, need to be listened to by Her Excellency Audrey and CG Trudy, and especially so because of the conversant.

If these two, well intentioned diplomats come to this weekend’s event and stay mum on such matters as the Diaspora Conference 2017, and elections for ABMs here in the USA, they would have started their second tour of duty on a misstep!

Be warned. This Diaspora is not an ATM!

Folks, take my unlettered advice. Every time you see and hear the word ‘invest’, see and think ‘scam’. That’s what taxation without representation is..!

These ‘trailblazers’ are being scammed. Don’t be one of them and be careful of those wearing masks, as well!

Folks, That’s today’s conversation. As always you have the last word. Share your thoughts!



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