5 Questions with Mark Jackson, Global Jamaica Diaspora Council – USA Southern Region

Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who wears several hats on the west coast of Florida. As the CEO of Omega Wellness LLC, he is doing therapy with End-Stage Kidney Disease patients as well as those already on dialysis. Mark is also the Chief Wellness Officer for the Diaspora Health Group. Mark was born in St Mary, grew up in St. Thomas where he attended Morant Bay High then moved to Kingston and attended Wolmers. Mark was awarded a full track scholarship to Long Island University, Brooklyn, New York. He then received his master’s in social work at New York University. He is currently married to Wife Dr. Janis Lawrence-Jackson and has three children: seven-year-old Summer and two-year-old twins Skye and TJ. Mark decided to “get off the sidelines” a few years ago when his mother was placed on hospice care and given three months to live. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in Kingston. He brought his mother to Florida and along with his wife did extensive research and out-of-the-box holistic therapies. His mother is now, two and a half years later doing significantly better than she was prior to the illness. This was the turning point for Mark as he realized that many in the diaspora have probably had similar experiences however felt powerless to affect any sort of positive change. This led to Mark accepting the role of Chief Wellness officer for the Diaspora Health Group.

What is your connection to Jamaica? Have you been involved in the Jamaica Diaspora Movement or Jamaican related organizations before?
I have not been involved with the organized diaspora movement before. But as a Jamaican, I am a “born and grow”.

If elected what will be your main goal in this role for your constituencies?
I think the people who leave Jamaica typically do so to gain access to better finances. Maybe by accessing higher education, in some cases by accessing scholarships like myself or just higher-paying jobs. It is my belief that the diaspora largely exists because Jamaicans over the years have left the country in search of making more money.

My goal then for the constituency would be to fulfill their original plan to make more money. I plan to get money in the hands of the individuals who are willing to connect with us and start making significant moves. To that end, we have the means to get wellness providers immediate income using the latest in wellness technologies. Working with my colleagues in the Diaspora Health Group, we are ready to roll out The Diaspora Connected Health Network. Not only to start building income for the diaspora where they currently live, but also to lead the charge in making Jamaica the number one medical tourism hub in the world. Right now, we only get paid on tourist visits when they are on the island. What if we start getting paid every month even after they leave? My goal is to get the diaspora connected to the leveraged or smart money.

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?
I think that we need a paradigm shift regarding how we consider issues. I don’t think I would need to seek out the people in the diaspora who don’t know about the movement right now. We all know the saying “money talks and …” what I am saying is that if we create real opportunities for the diaspora to start making money where they live then the information and buy-in will take care of itself.

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?
To be honest I think that those people may have a point. But personally, I don’t consider myself or any of the plans that we have as being controlled by a government entity. I don’t think this is a major issue for me or any of the people that I would represent.

Is there a cohesive goal for the Jamaican Diaspora that people can rally around?
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I think the goal is to make more money. What Diaspora Health group offers that is new and different is making the money smart and residual. In the past, we would offer our time working several jobs “to make ends meet”. What we are saying today is let’s get ahead of technology, work as a large group and make significant changes together. Jamaica has several million tourist visits annually. What if we were being paid (conservatively) $50 per 300K tourist every month that’s 180 million (per annum) in new revenue to the diaspora. Can we then invest in our own diaspora all-inclusive hotels etc?

We have the tools to take control of our own resources; all we need now is some communication and coordination.

Thanks for your time and all the best in the election. Do you have any closing thoughts?
All the people who vote for me can do so, knowing that I will make your personal situation better. Our plans are not government dependent. We want you to start being smarter with how you invest your time and money as well as earning smarter. The time has come for us to move from investing our time to make money, to using the natural resources and available technology to have our money, making money for us. Thank you so much for reaching out, one love.

Follow Mark Jackson:

About the author

Xavier Murphy