In a release today, Ms. Hanna said, “The Jamaican Diaspora is a national asset which must not be politicized.” She added that there has been no dialogue with the Opposition and Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Johnson-Smith’s proposal of appointing herself and fourteen other members to the Council, effectively giving her control of the Diaspora voice is blatantly immoral."
Ms. Hanna said, “It also deprives legitimate Jamaican organizations, who have elected their own representatives to serve with non-partisan structured approaches, from participation.”
To make matters worse, Minister Johnson-Smith is ignoring the cries of members of the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organisations (NAJASCO) who have warned against the Ministry’s control of the process and the autonomy of the Diaspora.
In a statement issued recently, a number of community leaders from the North-Eastern region of the United States, called for the postponement of the elections for the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council until further discussions have been held with their community.
“These concerns and others raised by members of the diaspora communities have refuted the Ministers previous pronouncements that meaningful consultations were held with all of the existing groupings and interests within the Jamaican Diaspora,” Ms. Hanna said.
She is again calling for a review of the framework of the new diaspora body and its policies to ensure that Jamaicans who are actively engaged and willing to participate are not left out, irrespective of where they reside in the global community. Ms. Hanna said, this review must answer some of the looming questions, which she has already asked in the public domain and tabled in parliament.
The Shadow Minister reiterated that the Council needs to be an independent body, representing the views of members of the Diaspora without political influence or interference. It must have a free hand in representing its interests to the government without political impediment of any kind.
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