DIASPORA FOUNDATION LAUNCHED IN CANADA
TORONTO, Dec. 12 (JIS):
Hundreds of Jamaicans turned out recently for the historic launch
of the Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation (JDCF), held in Toronto,
President, Philip Mascoll and Vice President, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams
informed the gathering about the objectives of the organization,
which include to serve and advance Jamaica and the interests of
Jamaica and Jamaicans everywhere.
"The JDCF is for every Jamaican living in Canada. We have 300,000
Jamaicans here and it is time to take care of yard. We can do it
by all working together. Our potential needs to be unleashed,"
Mr. Mascoll said.
Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams said although the group would be focusing
on law enforcement, social development, education and health issues,
the big topic at the moment was deportation.
"We have to urgently deal with the deportation issue,"
she said, noting that it was unfair to send people back to Jamaica
with no support.
Offering congratulations to the organizers, Jamaica's Consul General
to Toronto, Vivia Betton noted that together, "we can achieve
a lot by pooling our ideas and our efforts in support of our country
and our communities in Canada".
The Consul General added that because of the skills and expertise
acquired by so many Jamaicans living overseas, they had a unique
and important perspective to bring to Jamaica.
"This, coupled with the creativity, intelligence and the vision
of our people at home, are recipes for success," she said.
Jamaica's High Commissioner to Canada, Carl Marshall told the group
that the task was huge as they tried to connect with all Jamaicans
living in Canada. "The JDCF will now have to work to connect
with the thinking of Jamaicans right across Canada, to know what
it is they would like to see done, to know what it is that they
would like to see Jamaica do and the way that they here in Canada
can assist the growth and development of Jamaica," he added.
Mr. Marshall urged all the Jamaican organizations in Canada to throw
their support behind the JDCF, reiterating that "nothing is
being formed here that is going to be on a higher level, lower level,
wider level than anything that has ever existed before. We are looking
for great co-operation".
The High Commissioner read a message from Minister of State in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn,
congratulating the organizers for bringing together Jamaicans in
Senator Franklyn said the Jamaican communities overseas were of
great importance to Jamaica in its pursuit of nation building, and
the perception that Jamaica remembered its nationals in the diaspora
only during periods of crisis, was not true.
He noted that Professor Rex Nettleford was recently appointed Chairman
of the 12-member Board of the Jamaican Diaspora Foundation. The
two Canadian representatives,
Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams and Mr. Mascoll, will join two others from
the United Kingdom and three from the United States, on the Board.
Keynote speaker at the launch, Rev. Dr. Peter Morgan said Jamaica
"needs a national renaissance, a rebirth, re-awakening, revival,
reconstruction, renewal, restoration and resurrection".
This would be a new society characterized by personal integrity,
public justice, social peace, economic sufficiency, people empowerment
and political security based on moral and spiritual values and principles,
Dr. Morgan, who has been commissioned to establish a network of
church leaders across the diaspora, challenged the Canadian arm
of the diaspora to become "an institute of research, a lobby
group, professional consultants, business investors and social and
religious activists, promoting and shaping the identity of the Renaissance
"The Renaissance Jamaican is any citizen who is committed to
the future of Jamaica, not for his or her own sake, but for the
well being of the body politic," he explained.
Canada's High Commissioner to Jamaica, Claudio Valle, who travelled
to Canada specifically for the launch, gave his support to the diaspora
Foundation, noting that the launch would cement the relationship
between Jamaicans in Canada and those at home.
"While trade, investment and political engagements are important
elements in fostering close bilateral relationships, it is the depth
of people-to-people ties that are the most defining characteristics,"
Paula Fennell, Administrator at the Canadian office of the Jamaica
National Building Society (JNBS), read a message from Managing Director,
Earl Jarrett, who said that JNBS was proud to be a part of the Diaspora
Jamaicans of the diaspora, he said, have always maintained close
links with their homeland, whether by way of visits, charitable
initiatives or remittances.
However, the launch of the JDCF signalled a new phase in the history
of the relationship between Jamaicans at home and those overseas,
Mr. Jarrett said.
Also in attendance were Speaker of the Ontario Legislature, Jamaican-born
Alvin Curling; David Griffiths, President of the Jamaican Canadian
Association; and Olive Steele, President of the National Council
of Jamaicans and Supportive Organizations in Canada.
CONTACT: CAROLYN GOULBOURNE-WARREN
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