According to the Chairman of the NHT, Ambassador Dr. Nigel Clarke, from time to time “members of the Jamaican Diaspora have been inquiring as to how they could access a home through the NHT. Well, I am pleased to inform the diaspora that the NHT is now working on a program, which will give members of the diaspora an opportunity to own a home in Jamaica.”
Addressing a Sept. 22 town hall meeting in Jamaica, Queens, NY, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the Ambassador pointed out that under the program being developed, borrowers living in the diaspora would have to contribute to the trust.
“But we have to make sure that after they borrow, they will pay back and continue to contribute to the trust,” the NHT chairman said. “Every member of the diaspora should have a house in Jamaica. But what we want to do is make it easier for members of the diaspora to own a piece of Jamaica. By having a piece of the rock, you will be helping Jamaica to grow. There is something in it for you. There is something in it for Jamaica.”
Ambassador Clarke, who is also vice chairman of the National Economic Growth Council, said that one of the recommendations that is being forwarded to the government as it relates to Diaspora engagement is to develop a global Jamaican identification card.
This is a card, he said, would give Jamaicans living abroad identification. He added that lot of Jamaicans are being deported and do not have a passport so having this global identification card would help them with proper identity.
The special global Jamaican identification card “will not be a passport. It’s a card that identifies and bonds us,” Ambassador Clarke assured. “As when you present that card in Jamaica, it’s a special status. You will not be a visitor to Jamaica. What we want to do is for the Jamaican community around the world to see themselves as one community and be empowered to contribute socially and economically to the development and growth of Jamaica.”
Ambassador Clarke said the National Economic Growth Council has recommended to the government that it “deepens the level of diaspora engagement to ensure that the resources of the diaspora, the skills, capital, experience and knowledge, can be harnessed for the growth and development of Jamaica.”
In her remarks, Jamaica’s recently appointed Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Mark, said she was looking forward to working with the diaspora to tap into the wealth of resources and knowledge.
“All of you have indicated that you want to give back to Jamaica. As result, she will be hosting a number of “road shows” throughout the United States with a view of engage enhancing the wealth of resource towards the development of Jamaica.
The town hall meeting was organized by the Jamaica Consulate in New York as part of the Prime Minister visit to the United Nations. It was the prime ministers first engagement with the Jamaican community in the New York Metro area since he became prime minister.
The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith.
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