By Okoye Henry
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has reiterated his strong support for the candidacy of minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, for the post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
Addressing the global launch of the ninth biennial Diaspora Conference on May 6, at the ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade, downtown Kingston, Holness argued that Jamaica would be in a position to bring transformation to the Commonwealth with Johnson Smith in the post.
“So, we offer our minister of foreign affairs to the Commonwealth,” the prime minister said. “We’re going to make the Commonwealth institution into one that will serve its members well, serve the development, the economic progress, civil and social progress and the technological progress of its members well,” he added.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire and is home to 2.5 billion people.
A decision on the appointment of a secretary-general is to be made during the Commonwealth heads of government meeting, to take place from June 20 to 25, 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda.
“Jamaica believes that the strengthening of multilateral organisations will inure to the benefit of Jamaica. A better world means a better Jamaica, and where we can offer our resources, as we have always done, we will offer them,” Holness said.
The diaspora biennial conference is being hosted by the foreign affairs ministry from June 14 to 16, under the Jamaica 60 theme, ‘Reigniting a Nation for Greatness’.
It will be held in hybrid format, that is in-person and virtually, because of the continuing effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
It will commence with an opening ceremony, to be followed by plenary sessions over the three days, covering areas related to diaspora engagement in a digitalised world, transformation of education, transformation of health and wellness services, the orange economy, cultural and creative industries, and business and investments in Jamaica.
In addition, there will be three special fora to focus on engaging young diaspora members – Generation Z and Millennials, the role of faith-based groups in diaspora engagements and community transformation, and customer satisfaction for diaspora members by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
The event will culminate with reports of achievements since the 2019 conference as well as a roadmap for actions, and recommendations for Jamaica’s 60th Independence anniversary. The 2021 staging of the conference was postponed due to COVID-19.