5 Questions with Scherie Murray, Candidate for Global Jamaica Diaspora Council North East USA

Scherie Murray Candidate for Global Jamaica Diaspora Council North East USA

My name is Scherie Murray and I am an entrepreneur, public speaker and community organizer and have served in my community of Southeast-Queens, N.Y. and beyond, in different capacities. I have experience in Governance, Diaspora Relations, Legislation, Policy Reform and Data Information and have developed the skills to work with people of all ages, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. I am a proud mother of three wonderful children who insist they are Jamaican; although they are born in America. It is my goal to ensure that they know and understand Jamaican culture. Sometimes they try to speak Jamaican Patois-(Patwa). My entire family is from Jamaica, W.I. and my children are the first Americans in my family.

What is your connection to Jamaica?
I love Jamaica. I was born in the town of Savanna-la-Mar in the Parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica, W. I.

Have you been involved in the Jamaica Diaspora Movement or Jamaican related organizations before?
I have been involved in the Jamaica Diaspora movement and Jamaican related organizations for many years. I recently served as the Chair/Leader of the Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Action Network – Youth Leadership Task Force. The Youth Leadership Task Force included members in Jamaica, the Jamaican Diaspora in the USA and France. We notably hosted a four-week forum on Connecting to Capital featuring successful entrepreneurs, investors, and educators from across the USA and Jamaica, W.I.

It was also truly an honor to work with Dr. Claire Nelson, founder of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS). ICS is a Washington D.C. based think tank. Together with Caribbean Diaspora stakeholders across the USA, we wrote policy recommendations, which were submitted to both the U.S. State Department and the White House.
The White Paper can be found here.

I also created the New York State Commission on H.R. 4939. Policy contributors included former Jamaican Consulate General of New York, the Hon. Dr. Geneive Brown-Metzger and Mr. Leo Gilling, founder of the Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Action Network (JDTAN).

In addition, I led a team of Jamaicans from the USA to Jamaica, W.I. and we facilitated a Day of Service to give back in Jamaica for the 55th Anniversary of Independence. Our workshop was held at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus and our keynote speakers included Ambassador of Jamaica, W.I. to the USA, Audrey Marks and former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding. It was one of the best and most rewarding public service experiences in my life, giving back to my homeland. Many young people in Jamaica attended. The workshop also featured a mini game show, hosted by Ity of Ity and Fancy Cat and it included a cash prize.

If elected what will be your main goal in this role for your constituencies?
If elected as the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council representative, I will utilize my experience in public service, my many contacts and resources to benefit Jamaica and the Jamaican Diaspora; I will advise and work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to execute the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council’s mission of conceptualization and recommendation of support systems and administrative initiatives to enhance collaboration between Jamaicans at home and those living abroad.

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?
If I were elected as the GJDC representative I would work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Ambassador of Jamaica to the USA, Audrey Marks, and the Consulate General of New York, the Hon. Alsion Wilson, to launch a campaign to promote the Jamaica Diaspora movement. I would also tap into my resources and contacts to help support the mission of the GJDC. One of my strongest skills is working with a variety of people from different backgrounds to get results.

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?
The GJDC’s role is to serve on a voluntary basis for a period of three years and in part, to advise the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade gives the GJDC representative responsibilities for Diaspora Affairs.

*It is important to note that according to the U.S. Department of Justice, The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was enacted in 1938. FARA imposes disclosure requirements and other legal obligations on any individual or entity that becomes an “agent of a foreign principal” unless an exemption applies. FARA requires certain agents of foreign principals, who are engaged in political activities or other activities specified under the statute to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities. As a result of the FARA Unit, it would be less intrusive and best practice for the GJDC representative to advise the Ministry, less any exchange of funding.

Is there a goal that you believe the Global Jamaican Diaspora can rally around?
There are many goals that the Global Jamaican Diaspora can rally around including education and resources for Jamaican youth; citizen security, commerce and migration. One of my goals would be to support the many Jamaicans abroad, who have assets in Jamaica, including a property or land. During my tenure, if elected, I would like to create a Unit in the respective Ministry, which is specifically designed to assist the Jamaican Diaspora to ensure that their assets are not stolen, lost or taken away. Instead, create a more seamless process to ensure those assets are protected and can be passed on to their designated proxy.

Thanks for your time and all the best in the election. Do you have any closing thoughts?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my qualifications and desire to be duly elected as the next GJDC to represent Jamaicans in the Northeast Region of the USA. I hope to be elected and I appreciate all who have supported me over the years. Thank you to those who have voted for me to become the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council Northeast representative for the great states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC and West Virginia. It would be an honor to serve in this volunteer capacity to strengthen U.S/Caribbean relations, help my homeland, fellow Jamaicans abroad and a yaad!

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Xavier Murphy