Jamaican pride was high as June 14 marked the official opening ceremony of the 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference 2015 which took place at Hilton Rose Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Participants came from as far as Bahamas, Columbia and, Namibia to discuss how to make the island better and to strengthen Jamaica – diaspora relations. Glen Harris, mayor of Montego Bay welcomed the diaspora to the city and urged visitors to explore and spread the word about the city. “Make everyone aware of the island,” he said.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in delivering the keynote address welcomed and thanked the diaspora for their contributions to the island. “On behalf of the government and people of Jamaica, I welcome my brothers and sisters at home and in the diaspora,” said the prime minister. “I thank you all for investing your time and your money to be a part of this historic family meeting. She applauded the commitment the diaspora has made, not only through investment, but also through their willingness to come from all over the world to participate in dialogue to uplift the country. The importance of the support that Jamaicans overseas give to their families in times of need must never be underestimated.”
The recurring theme of the night was building a better and prosperous island with the help of the diaspora. “The theme of this year’s conference ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Linking for growth and prosperity’ reflects my government’s approach to our homeland diaspora partnership,” said Simpson Miller. “We see the Jamaica Diaspora as a source of expertise, skills, and resources with great potentials to Jamaica’s government,” she added.
The conference, which concluded on June 18, also discussed how the diaspora can invest in various sectors of the Jamaican economy.