The People’s National Party (PNP) are calling on the Government to revamp its policy towards engagement with the diaspora after the recent global diaspora elections saw a low voter turnout.
Last year Jamaicans overseas began the voting process to elect representatives of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC) and the Global Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council (GJDYC). The almost four-month long process saw 3,000 members of the Jamaican diaspora voting from an estimated five million members.
The opposition further noted that in one high density community in the Northeastern United States, the most successful nominee received 91 votes.
“This low level of participation indicates a disconnect between the Government-backed Diaspora Council and the diaspora, and that the policy now being pursued by the Government in relation to the Diaspora has failed to engage them,” said the opposition in a joint statement today (February 20).
While commending those who were elected as representatives, the PNP also noted that “the low level of participation is a travesty of the highest level and opens the Diaspora Council to the assumption that those elected do not truly reflect the millions of Jamaicans living overseas. The Government cannot be satisfied with this low turnout and must look to revamp its policy towards engagement with the Diaspora”.
Established in 2020, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the main objective of the Councils is to build a mutually beneficial relationship between Jamaica and the diaspora.
The opposition noted that the engagement of all Jamaicans is vital because Jamaica is more than geographical location. As such, they state that they are willing to assist the Government to reach those abroad.