Tasked with the primary responsibility of promoting and safeguarding the interest of Jamaican nationals residing in 33 United States, Bermuda and Puerto Rico, Jamaica’s newest Consul General Alsion Roach Wilson recently announced reforms she intends to implement in order to improve relations with diasporans during her tenure at the New York consulate.
During her first official meeting with select diaspora leaders CG Roach Wilson said “I will be CG on the beat.”
On her initial group engagement with entrepreneurs, educators, political and community leaders she outlined several proposals she decidedly declared will prioritize an agenda to better serve the largest English-speaking Caribbean community in New York.
Surrounded by individuals she described as “longtime friends” from relationships that “go way back” the informal gathering seemed a reunion rather than the previous meet and greet introductions that often present new consulars.
“I am a down to earth, humble person…just don’t call me Allison,” the newly sworn diplomat joked with reference to her moniker which is often misidentified.
All joking aside, she explained how since taking office she has often surprised callers by answering the busy phones at the East Side Manhattan offices.
While engaging in that process she said she discovered that many nationals are clueless about the location of the offices, while others are frustrated by the disconnect caused by busy or non-responsive phone outreach.
She said she means to improve telephone access as well as enlighten diasporans about the role she is tasked to fulfill.
Throughout the informal gathering, she referenced long-time associates she said she probably will rely on in order to successfully execute reforms she said were priorities.
One such is to connect with Jamaicans residing in Staten Island.
Although two boroughs — Brooklyn and Queens — comprise the largest concentration of Jamaicans residing in the USA, New York City and state, the consular said she intended to spend more time with Jamaicans living on Staten Island where only less than one percent of the Black population lives.
Popularly known as the ‘forgotten borough,’ the borough is distinct for being home to the largest population of Italian Americans of any county in America.
Perhaps appealing to a growing number of Jamaican diasporans who enjoy the game of cricket, it is also home to the oldest cricket club in the USA.
According to the last census report, African-Americans residing in the borough account for less than 10 percent of the population.
“I was told that no one from the consulate has visited prisons in nine years,” she added.
With as many as 54 correctional facilities in NYC alone, she will have to carve out a huge chunk of her time visiting incarcerated Jamaicans at each facility throughout the state.
State Senator Nick Perry added to the dialogue saying that due to his more than two and half decades with the state legislature, he maintains ‘all access’ privileges to penitentiaries. However, he did not state where and when he made his last visit to Jamaicans incarcerated throughout the state.
A discussion about deportes provided lively exchange with volunteers offering time and talent to decreasing the frequency of mandatory deportations to the home island due to criminal convictions.
In addition, distribution of a pamphlet detailing “How American Gun Laws Are Fueling Jamaica’s Homicide Crisis” aided with the discussion.
Another ambitious project the diplomat said she intends to realize is to conduct bi-weekly community forums with other leaders to include; clergy, teachers, students and all nationals of the island.