Patterson keynotes ‘Borderless Possibilities’ forum

Former Jamaican Prime Minister Percival Patterson, left, takes a question during a press conference at the end of the three-day G15 conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Friday, Feb. 12, 1999.
Associated Press / Lynne Sladky, File

Jamaican Diasporans from the tri-state area are first to see and hear the island’s sixth prime minister when he presents a case for “Borderless Possibilities” in the Caribbean region.

Former PM P.J. Patterson who headed the government of Jamaica from 1992 to 2006 and emerged the longest head of state to rule there will keynote a town hall meeting at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn on May 4 before heading to Toronto, Canada and later Florida where he will repeat the message.

In fact, the popular leader will not focus on his island nation of Jamaica but will talk on the topic “Caribbean Diaspora: Borderless Possibilities.”

Intended to broaden the discussion about opening the region’s borders and easing restrictions pertaining to entry and exits, former PM Patterson’s visit will also continue a dialogue that will be addressed during the sixth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference next month in Montego Bay.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller broached the topic on a recent visit here when she addressed Diasporans.

However, the abbreviated presentation was deprived query when a disruptive group interrupted the visiting prime minister’s address.

Organizers of the Brooklyn event promise a detailed presentation followed by a question and answer segment which will engage the audience.

During a three and a half hour forum beginning at 5:30 p.m. Western Union and Grace Kennedy, hosts of the community engagement will also share information about their commitment to education and support of the Diaspora.

A press release from the hosts attributes the event to be being “part of our thrust to positively impact the communities we serve.”

Don Wehby, group chief executive officer of Grace Kennedy Ltd. and Sean Mason, vice president and general manager, Western Union Caribbean will discuss “Corporate Social Responsibility – Changing Lives and “Cultivating Generations through Educational Investment.”

The town hall meetings provide a forum in which members of the Caribbean Diaspora can engage in meaningful dialogue about the developments in their home countries, share thoughts on the issues that are of importance to their communities, discuss solutions and ways to contribute to the development of the Caribbean.

“These forums are very important to us as they provide an excellent opportunity to engage the Caribbean Diaspora –not just to network with our customers and get their feedback but also importantly, to encourage their participation in the discussion about issues that are critical to their home countries,” Michelle Allen, chief executive officer of Grace Kennedy Money services said.

“Their contribution is very valuable as we explore ways to continue the development and promotion of the Caribbean while improving the quality of lives for those who live within the region.”

Grace Kennedy Money Services (GKMS) is the local agent for Western Union in nine Caribbean countries – Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and Montserrat and most recently, the British Virgin Islands. Through this relationship, the companies serve the Caribbean Diaspora by connecting them to their families as well as investing in programs that support the development initiatives of the Caribbean.

Former PM Patterson is now president of Heis Consults Ltd.

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