5 Questions with Janice McIntosh, Candidate for Global Jamaica Diaspora Council South USA

Janice McIntosh Candidate for Global Jamaica Diaspora Council South USA

Janice McIntosh migrated from Jamaica and made Florida her home in 2009. She is passionate about giving back and since moving to Florida, her involvement in the community has been as numerous as they are fulfilling. She is currently the VP of the Jamaican Women of Florida (JWOF) and is still very active in her local community and church. Some additional community focused roles, both past and present, include:

▪ President of ICHS Alumni Association
▪ Director, Jamaica Legacy Foundation
▪ Trustee member Lauderhill Chamber of Commerce
▪ Director, Jamaica USA Chamber of Commerce
▪ FIU Alumni Circle Board Member
▪ Servant Leader (Women & Children) Christ the Rock Community Church
▪ Community Award from Caribbean Americas Soccer Association (CASA)
▪ Proclamation made by City of Lauderhill Proclaiming Janice McIntosh Day – March 3rd
▪ The first Woman of Distinction of the Lauderhill Chamber in 2014.

Janice McIntosh describes her profession as a marketer but has worked in banking & Finance, retail and now Government. She is a creative thinker and is often asked to sit on Committees to serve as consultant to various projects. She believes in collaboration and loves the energy of people when ideas are expressed and then anchored by people who can execute a vision. She is married to Peter and a mom of two (2) active teenagers Jessica and Jenna.

What is your connection to Jamaica? Have you been involved in the Jamaica Diaspora Movement or Jamaican related organizations before?
I was born in Jamaica and migrated to the US in 2009. My time here has always been linked to Diaspora affairs in part because of my former employer, JN Bank where I was the Chief Representative Officer for 11 years. My mission has always been to promote the best of Jamaica and give our Diasporans a sense of pride as to where Jamaica is today and the potential for where we can be in the future. The future of Jamaica is bright and as a collective – Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, we will be an economic and cultural force to reckon with. Jamaicans are making keen strides in all facets of life and once we know how to harness this wealth from our people around shared values, we will make a difference.

If elected what will be your main goal in this role for your constituencies?
I am running a campaign on F.I.R.S.T. Which is to facilitate engagement between the Diaspora and the Government, Inclusivity to ensure there is good representation of the Jamaicans in my constituency, Respect for the voice of the people that I will advise the Gov’t on- around Shared Values and Trust. My main emphasis is on INCLUSIVITY because I want to rope in the 2nd and 3rd generation to ensure that we get them to establish an emotional connection to the island in order to feel they are part of Jamaica’s future growth and development.

Many in the Jamaican community abroad don’t know much about the Jamaica Diaspora movement and its goals. What will you do to change this perception and get all Jamaicans in the Diaspora involved?
Running on a platform of ‘inclusivity’ is my main focus and I want to dispel the myth that the diaspora is an elite group of people that excludes the majority. I will share on every platform I’m given and will create my own to communicate in common terms and language who we are as a people and what binds us together. When we begin to focus on people, it’s only then that we meet each other on a level that we feel comfortable to express our love, concerns, fears, expectations and hopes for Jamaica. As much as we celebrate around our victories on the Sporting and cultural arenas, there is still a great divide among our people and that chasm is what I hope to bridge with my involvement on the Council.

Recently there have been some who have expressed concerns about the lack of funding of The Global Jamaica Diaspora Council and if the position has any power without direction from the Jamaican Government. Do you have any thoughts on this?
I believe we can have dialogue with the Government to express these concerns to see how reasonable it is for a council member to dedicate 3 years of their personal time and effort using their own funds is sustainable. If the needle does not move on this issue, there can be very little change because it will take some amount of funding for mobilization and results. I understand why the Government is hesitant to put money to a movement in a foreign space, but even if funds are managed in Jamaica keeping all fiscal responsibilities there, something has to give.

Is there a goal that you believe the global Jamaican Diaspora can rally around?
There are many. However, I think we can all rally around social services to empower and equip our people both in Jamaica and abroad. We must start with where people are and branch out from there. There are many issues plaguing us and if we don’t tackle these, we cannot rise and achieve our fullest potential. Issues of mental health, early childhood education, single parents, skills training and so much more. This I also believe will also get to the root of crime in Jamaica by giving folks tools to be able to choose the life they wish to live and not be forced into one because they believe it’s the only option.

Thanks for your time and all the best in the election. Do you have any closing thoughts?
I am happy with the Candidates that have stepped up to represent, especially the Southern US. It is a testament to the willingness to serve and be part of something that will be beneficial to Jamaica in the long run. The previous candidates from Walker-Huntington, Hill, Davis, Golding and Cunningham have done a stellar job and if elected I would like to continue the work of the people and make it a position where all Jamaicans can feel proud to be part of. I wish all Candidates well and to say, we are all winners for taking this step of volunteerism and service.

About the author

Xavier Murphy