Jamaica Diaspora News

Diaspora Welcomes Ministers The Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, and The Honourable Dr. Christopher Tufton: Logistics Centered Economy and Uniting for Growth and Prosperity Conference Highlight Mr. Lance Gordon, Jr. MS, Harvard University June 19, 2016 The Jamaica Diaspora NE USA Regional conference held in New York, June 10-11, 2016 was a historic occasion and one which introduced the first woman Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade from Jamaica, Senator, The Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Gala Keynote Speaker who had her first opportunity to address the Diaspora in person. It was a wonderful occasion receiving Minister Johnson Smith with Oliver Samuels serving as the Master of Ceremonies. Earlier in the day The Honourable Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health spoke to the conference attendees and met with leaders in the medical and health community following his presentation. Among the many topics discussed at the JDNE USA Regional Conference was a very important discussion surrounding the Jamaica Logistics Hub. While the Jamaica Logistics Hub initiative is the number one investment project in Jamaica supported with funding by the World Bank, many in the diaspora are still not aware of the significant investment opportunities that Jamaicans in the diaspora have to become a part of this major initiative. Jamaica’s effort to embark upon developing the nation as a major transshipment Hub has drawn interest from foreign investors worldwide. Interests have come not only from the traditional US, UK, Canada connections, but also the Chinese and French governments are seeking to make significant contributions in developing and establishing the infrastructure in Jamaica that can enable the transformation towards Jamaica becoming a logistics centered economy, much like the existing major transshipment locations, Singapore Rotterdam and Dubai. Jamaica is still in what is considered to be the early stages of its development and investment opportunities for diasporans in the micro, small, medium enterprises (MSME) remains a significant opportunity with tremendous growth potential. World Bank Support for Jamaica Logistics Hub The effort undertaken by the Jamaican government and being continued by the current administration is fully supported by the World Bank. The mission of the World Bank is twofold: to put an end to poverty and build shared prosperity around the world. The bank, based in Washington, D.C. provided around $61 billion dollars in loans and assistance to “developing” and transition countries in fiscal year 2014. The World Bank is also the author of the Logistics Performance Index (LPI). This document which has been produced by the World Bank since 2007 measures the on-the-ground efficiency of trade supply chain performance. Jamaica’s performance on this list of 160 countries has moved from a position of 140 in 2012 to 70 in 2014. This is a remarkable accomplishment and a reason for the diaspora to seriously begin looking at investment areas for micro size medium enterprise (MSME) development opportunities in all areas of business and industry. Building a United Diaspora for Growth and Prosperity in Jamaica The 2016 JDNEUSA conference theme is quite consistent with The World Bank’s mission statement. The conference covered key topics in Health Care, Education, Role of the Church, Public Safety, Immigration, Social Work panel, Trade and Investment. All of these areas are critically important in establishing the foundations of a strong economy and prosperous nation. These elements must cluster in support of the central drivers of the Tourism and Agricultural industries that add significantly to Jamaica’s GNP. Building a united diaspora for growth and prosperity has to begin with greater involvement of the diaspora in the investment opportunities with diaspora organizations leading the way in accessing our elected officials to assist in directing the many millions of foreign aid dollars available through organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). More transparency, partnerships and needed involvement with the diaspora in policy and decision-making are essential where shared responsibilities will lead to stronger ties and engagement. The National Diaspora Policy introduced at the Jamaica Diaspora 6 th Biennial conference in Montego Bay in 2015 needs to be communicated to the wider diaspora audience and carried forward with the inputs of the diaspora and diaspora organizations. The theme of the 2016 JDNEUSA conference and its message should be viewed as a call to action for diasporans that wish to contribute to the nation building process in Jamaica. Those diasporans who are concerned about business risks need only look at the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) produced by The World Bank which provides insight into Jamaica’s current performance status and ability to compete at a world class level as a Logistics Hub. Comparisons should be made to our performance in 2012 and the progress made in 2014 which can only be reviewed as remarkable. With this investment project Jamaica has the opportunity to transform the economy and provide jobs and economic growth for the country. It is a prime opportunity for those in the diaspora who wish to become an integral part in the development of our nation. The Logistics Performance Index (LPI) and its components help countries understand the challenges that they and their trading partners face in making their national logistics perform strongly. “The LPI complements, rather than substitutes for the in-depth country assessments that many countries have undertaken in recent years, and many of them with World Bank support.” This includes Jamaica and shows our rapid progression towards becoming a major transshipment point and a progression that can be accelerated with greater participation of the diaspora in business development. Copies of the 2012 and 2014 LPI reports can be obtained by going to http://lpi.worldbank.org/. Logistics Centered Economy Panel Summary The 2016 JDNEUSA panel on Trade and Investments was moderated by Mark Milward, MBA, MBB, Program Manager for the US Navy, responsible for Workforce Development applying Lean Six Sigma (LSS) at the US Naval Submarine Base, New London Ct. Mr. Milward is the technical authority at the base and trainer for military and civilian personnel. The panel titled Logistics Centered Economy: Diaspora Perspectives on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Skills Development featured presentations by Dr. Gary Rhule, MD, Director of Health and Human Services, City of Hartford, Prof. Lynroy Grant, PhD, Director, Education for Development and Support Network (EDSN) and Rudi Page, CEO Making Connections Work, Ltd. JDNEUSA 2016 Trade & Investment Panel: Logistics Centered Economy (JLH) L-R: Dr. Gary Rhule, MD, Director of Health & Human Services, City of Hartford, Prof. Lynroy Grant, PhD, Director, Education for Development and Support Network Foundation (EDSN), Mark Milward, MBA, LSSMBB, Critical Chain Program Manager, US Navy, US Department of Defense, missing from photo: Rudi Page, CEO, Making Connections Work Ltd. Mr. Page was on the panel at the 2015 Jamaica Diaspora 6th Biennial conference in Montego Bay along with Mr. Milward and led by Dr. Fritz Pinnock, Director of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) : Integrating Diaspora Skills and Expertise in Investment Projects. He ventured from the UK to join the JDNEUSA conference demonstrating his support in uniting globally as a diasporan committed to providing the leadership that will foster greater diaspora participation in economic development, job creation and business investment opportunities (i.e. clustering) surrounding the Jamaica Logistics Hub initiative. Mr. Page presented on the many trade areas and opportunities open to Jamaica and the UK as a result of the initiative to become a global transshipment supply chain hub. Dr. Rhule made an outstanding presentation to the audience offering perspectives on economic growth, and job creation in the medical and health industries. Dr. Rhule touched on the multibillion dollar market of medical tourism along with other topics and also provided a comparison between Singapore, now a major logistics hub and Jamaica showing the advantage potential that Jamaica has if the focus on training and education in the STEM areas is aggressively pursued and reflected on our geographic positioning to become a world class Hub. Prof. Grant who is presently working in Jamaica with EDSN on various developmental projects and engaged in establishing business development opportunities for the digital community shared his activities. Prof. Grant shared much of this with the diaspora attendees and offered website and contact information for those interested in establishing business startups in the digital community. An aggressive question and answer period followed the presentations which demonstrated the level of interest the audience had on the topic. Many attendees followed with inquiries on how to get involved in supporting the Jamaica Logistics Hub initiative. It was quite evident that many in the Diaspora are not aware of this initiative and those who are aware, are not informed on the current development activities now taking place. There is a considerable amount of interest on the part of the diaspora to invest in the Jamaica Logistics Hub initiative and there is a tremendous opportunity to reach that segment of the diaspora that are in the micro, small, medium, enterprise (MSME) business sectors. ECSTV Global Network Beginning in September 2016, the ECSTV Global Network will be introducing the “Jamaica Diaspora Show”. The show will feature news coverage of diaspora events, and activities from around the world, including interviews with outstanding Jamaicans in the diaspora in sports, business, arts, entertainment, politics, health, education, immigration, trade and investment. The lineup will include feature stories from the US, UK, Canada, Jamaica and Bermuda. The ECSTV Global Network is being launched with primary support coming from the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations (NAJASO). The Association is the largest and most influential Jamaican Association worldwide. NAJASO embraces many nonJamaicans in organizations who support the Association’s programs and works closely with American and Caribbean organizations on issues affecting Jamaica and the Caribbean. The business, trade and investments segment of the show will be aimed at bringing a greater awareness of the Jamaica Logistics Hub initiative to the Jamaican diaspora audience as well as interested investors in the MSME areas and others wanting the latest information on this initiative. The show will air monthly and identify opportunities for the diaspora to play a greater role in the development of the country offering business investment strategies that channel economic growth and job creation opportunities for Jamaica. Author: Lance Gordon Jr. MS City Planning, Harvard University

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