5 Questions with Dr. Allan Cunningham, Candidate for Global Jamaica Diaspora Council – USA Southern

Dr Allan Cunningham-

Dr. Allan Cunningham is the president and founder of the highly respected People Profile organization. A charitable organization that recognizes ordinary people in the global community doing extraordinary things. He is a lecturer/Associate Professor in International Business with expertise in Comparative Government. He is a product of Whitfield Town Kingston 13, and has been doing business from the age of six selling kisko pops, the Star, suck suck, peanuts, King Kong, and cheese trix downtown Darling Street Jamaica.

Dr.  Cunningham graduated in 2002 from Nova Southeastern University with a Doctorate in International Business and Masters in Business Administration and Psychology. He is a proud past student of Camperdown High school and Whitfield Town All Age. His passion is community service and building relationships.

Dr Allan Cunningham-

Dr Allan Cunningham with Broward Country Mayor, Dave V.C. Holness

What is your connection to Jamaica?
A true son of the soil, I am the 7th of nine children for my mother who was a higgler in Coronation market for over 50 years. Having worked at Ammars, Seprod, Victoria Mutual Building Society, and the Jamaica Mutual Life provided a wealth of memories and connection to our people, systems and national pride. I have several properties in Kingston and Trelawny and have been an active participant in the Coalition of Alumni Association in its quest to support schools on the island. My brothers, sisters, other family members and friends living in Jamaica make my connection real and productive.

Have you been involved in the Jamaica Diaspora Movement or Jamaican related organizations before?
I have never been an active participant in the Jamaican Diaspora as it relates to the organization itself. In fact, I started following the movement since 2017 and struggled to understand its philosophy, objectives and value to myself and others living in the Diaspora and Jamaicans living on the island. Nonetheless, for the past 17 years, I have been involved in other Jamaican organizations. Serving as a committee member, Vice President and President of the Camperdown Past student association during which we have donated several million dollars to our school. I have also been a Board member of the Coalition of Jamaican Alumni Association in Florida. The People Profile Organization also provides financial assistance to Jamaican high school alumni and other Jamaican Based charitable organizations through donations or sponsorship.

Dr Allan Cunningham

Dr Allan Cunningham

If elected what will be your main goal in this role for your constituencies? What will you do to change this perception and get all Jamaicans in the Diaspora involved?
My primary concern is awareness. More than 60% of persons who I have had conversations with have no clue about the intended purpose of the Jamaican Diaspora. Therefore I will create grassroots community engagement to create interest and share the benefit to those in and out of the diaspora. The creation of an annual Global Jamaican Hall Of Fame ceremony to recognize the contribution of our Diasporian brothers and sisters is a start. The creation of the “Jamaica Games” will also build alliances and give us the reach that we seek for true grassroots engagement.

Recently there have been some who have expressed concerns about not having a voice and too much government involvement in the new The Global Jamaica Diaspora Council format that is being adopted. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Any organization without structure is doom to fail. The success of the Jamaican Diaspora must be based on proper structure and focus. The Global Jamaica Diaspora Council seeks to serve in an advisory role. We are the collective voice of the people, simple and straight. The Council should be A political and I will not be influenced by either the JLP or the PNP. I have no intention of entering politics on the Island as my sole function is community engagement through representation.

It is nothing short of a genius that our founding members were able to accomplish so much with so little. We need to engage all Jamaicans across the globe for better effectiveness?
This new structure as proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs involves all Jamaicans across the world. It was highly received by members of the Diaspora leadership as it puts into focus the real value of inclusivity and engagement.

I welcome the new direction and believe that in time, persons will see the fruits of this monumental decision.

Dr Allan Cunningham

Is there a cohesive goal for the Jamaican Diaspora that people can rally around?
Absolutely! This is the time for us to use our collective expertise, talent, and focus for one common good, i.e. the betterment of us as Jamaicans and the economic prosperity of our Island. Let’s put our money where our mouth is. This position is non-compensatory therefore I applaud all those that have stepped forward to serve. This is what the movement is at the very least, to give of ourselves and to move forward with a shared focus.

Thanks for your time and all the best in the election. Do you have any closing thoughts?
This position should not be taken lightly. The ideal candidate must demonstrate an ability to realize the dream of the founding leaders. Without true grassroots community engagement, we will not succeed. Barbers Society, Construction Association, Rum drinkers club, Nursing association, and other blue and white-collar Jamaican organization must be represented. No one left behind!

The ideal candidate must be willing to sacrifice his own personal and career pursuit for the betterment of us as a culture, a culture of winners. Let’s rebrand Jamaica and all that we stand for.

I am willing, prepared, and able…

About the author

Xavier Murphy