His­toric study on the di­as­pora un­der way

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOCIAL - Jodi-Ann Gilpin and Bria King Gleaner Writ­ers

FOR THE first time, the gov­ern­ment of Ja­maica is to re­ceive ac­cess to em­pir­i­cal data on the con­tri­bu­tion of the Di­as­pora to the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment.

This was re­vealed dur­ing a Break­fast Con­ver­sa­tion where a new study be­ing un­der­taken by the Caribbean Pol­icy Re­search In­sti­tute (CaPRI) was an­nounced on Fri­day. The study will look at the value of the Ja­maican Di­as­pora.

In giv­ing an over­view of the study, CaPRI Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Dr Damien King in­di­cated that, in the in­ter­est of eco­nomic growth, Di­as­pora en­gage­ment is very crit­i­cal go­ing for­ward.

King noted that two sig­nif­i­cant ar­eas will be ad­dressed, in­clud­ing ac­cu­rately es­ti­mat­ing what is the cur­rent value of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and look­ing at the po­ten­tial growth and ar­eas that can be ex­panded.

“We are seek­ing to look at ac­counts in fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, we are go­ing to en­gage the Com­pa­nies Of­fice (of Ja­maica) which we have started to do al­ready, to get a sense of busi­nesses lo­cated in Ja­maica, that are owned by Ja­maicans liv­ing abroad. We have started talk­ing to the (Ja­maica) Stock Ex­change to see if we can get a value of shares that’s go­ing to give us a sense of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion.

NEED TO DE­TER­MINE EX­PORT VALUE

He noted also that while data ex­ists on ex­ports in Ja­maica, there is still need to drill down on spe­cific items in or­der to get a sense of ex­port value com­ing from the di­as­pora.

Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and For­eign Trade, Kam­ina John­son Smith com­mended CaPRI and the Ja­maica Di­as­pora In­sti­tute (JDI) for the joint un­der­tak­ing of a study that “rep­re­sents a game-changer in how we trade with the Di­as­pora”.

The min­is­ter, who has re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Di­as­pora, said the study will help to fill the gaps as it re­lates to the in­volve­ment of the Di­as­pora in na­tional de­vel­op­ment.

She fur­ther stressed the im­por­tance for the gov­ern­ment to de­velop poli­cies with el­e­ments that will ben­e­fit all Ja­maicans mak­ing up the Di­as­pora as they are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of var­i­ous lev­els of so­cial and eco­nomic diver­sity.

Smith ex­pressed grat­i­tude for the Di­as­pora on be­half of the gov­ern­ment, not­ing what she de­scribed as sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions made to var­i­ous sec­tors in­clud­ing health and ed­u­ca­tion, whether through do­na­tions, time, skills or ex­per­tise.

“Di­as­pora do­na­tions to the health sec­tor for the pe­riod Jan­uary to May 2017 have amounted to three mil­lion and these will help sup­port our ef­forts to cre­ate a healthy and sta­ble pop­u­la­tion while in­creas­ing, of course, the pro­duc­tiv­ity of our work­force,” she said.

RUDOLPH BROWN/ PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Earl Jar­rett (sec­ond left), chair­man of the prepara­tory com­mit­tee for the Ja­maica 55 Di­as­pora Con­fer­ence, speaks with Sen­a­tor Kam­ina John­son Smith, min­is­ter of for­eign af­fairs and for­eign trade; Gary Hen­drick­son (right), chair­man of Con­ti­nen­tal Bak­ing Com­pany; and Dr Damien King, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Caribbean Pol­icy Re­search In­sti­tute, at the Ja­maica Di­as­pora Break­fast Launch of CAPRI’s study on the Value of the Di­as­pora at Ja­maica Na­tional (Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices), Bel­mont Road in New Kingston, last Fri­day.

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