5 Questions with Keisha Swaby, Candidate for Global Jamaica Diaspora Council – UK North Region

Keisha Swaby

Keisha Adair Swaby is passionate about Jamaica and its development within the Diaspora and also in Jamaica. She came to England at the tender age of 14 and has had a very Inspirational journey. She is a wife and Mother of four children which includes twins. She started her working life with the GMB Union after College and then 12 years in Local Government which allowed her to work with Councillors and other dignitaries around the country including Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. In 2016 she left her role in Local Government to study and achieved a First Class BSc Honours Degree in Applied Sport and Exercise Science. She is still on her study journey and is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Health Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her passion for her home country led her to join Jamaicans Inspired with a history of philanthropic efforts to Jamaica for the past ten years. She is part of the Executive Team and is the North West Lead and Coordinator which allows her the chance to give back to Jamaica, the Diaspora and its youths on a bigger scale. In 2017 she had the opportunity to be part of the annual trip which allowed her to take part in several activities on the day of service such as visiting and contributing to Maxfield Park Orphanage and the painting of the basic school in Treasure Beach as well as attending the Diaspora Conference. After being diagnosed with Dyslexia and Dyspraxia in the last few weeks of her degree Keisha is now on a mission to create more awareness of these learning differences which are very prevalent within the black communities and often goes undiagnosed. In highlighting these issues she is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Jamaica Dyslexia Association. She also works in the media and has her own Radio Show aimed at highlighting the positive achievements within the Diaspora.

What is your connection to Jamaica? Have you been involved in the Jamaica Diaspora Movement or Jamaican related organizations before?
I am Jamaican born and bred with a deep passion for my home country and its development. I have been involved with a organisation known as Jamaicans Inspired which is a purposeful and passionate diaspora organisation doing great work in connecting the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation within the diaspora back to Jamaica. It is a non-political organisation which was established to help reconnect Jamaicans back to Jamaica.

I have witnessed the great work it has been doing and I have the opportunity to add my own philanthropic efforts by being directly involved in the efforts to support the youths in Jamaica on a regular basis.

If elected what will be your main goal in this role for your constituencies?
As we all know our youths are our future. I myself have been blessed with four children and I know the importance of building a future for the generations to come. Jamaica is a country that has been blessed with so much talent and skills and the young people need help and support to reach their full potential and amongst other things that has to be one of the main goal. Mentorship is a great option to bring out the best in our young people and providing opportunities for them to advance is crucial for them. They need good direction and guidance to help them bring out and fullfill those dreams and thats what the main focus for myself along with the organisation that I represent. Another goal would be to maintain that connection to help young people here in the Diaspora and also in Jamaica.

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?
Its about engagement and people within the Diaspora need to engage with whats happening in Jamaica and abroad having representatives who are passionate and dedicated to being that voice to listen whilst taking into consideration the issues and concerns of the people. Its vitally important to create inclusion and community cohesion so that they feel fully informed and included in the planning of goals and what needs to be achieved locally and globally.

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?
In the mission of creating a better Jamaica the people are what is important in everything therefore there has to be an effective way of communication so that people feel that they are part of the bigger picture and to an extent there has to be government involvement so that issues and concerns that arise from people in the Diaspora can be dealt with accordingly. Joint effort is key on both parts to deliver successfully.

Is there a cohesive goal for the Jamaican Diaspora that people can rally around?
It has to be about the people with a deep concentration on the development of Jamaica and the future generations. Its important to reinforce a positive image of Jamaica and unity amongst each other and within the Diaspora to facilitate the support needed to take things forward and as the saying goes one one coco full basket and every little helps. With contribution from all we can achieve more together for our beloved country and its people.

Thanks for your time and all the best in the election. Do you have any closing thoughts?
I am honoured to be part of this process and I want to thank the amazing people that I work with, Nathaniel Peat and the rest of the team from Jamaicans Inspired and all the great people that nominated me also everyone that registered and voted for me. I am truly humbled and grateful to all and it would be an even bigger honour to be the representative in the North of the UK. Massive well done and good luck to all the other nominees globally! Blessings to one and all!

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About the author

Xavier Murphy