A meeting to recruit brits with Jamaican heritage to help with social projects in Jamaica ended on a high with attendees from the diaspora signing as new members on the night.
The inaugural event was held on 6th September at the High Commission of Jamaica in London and was full to capacity with over 80 people in attendance.
Jamaicans Inspired (JamIn) Chairman, Nathaniel Peat, said: “There is a saying: ‘You can go alone and go far or you can go together and go further and faster’. We are trying to mobilise ourselves and work together to go further and faster for Jamaica. Too often we hear negative things about Jamaica and we want to change that perception. JamIn aims to support the network of young Jamaicans through initiatives such as mentorship programmes and encouraging social entrepreneurship.”
As members of JamIn, those people who signed up on the night will now have the opportunity to join forces with the newly elected Festival Queens who represent the 14 parishes on the island of Jamaica: Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St. Elizabeth, Westmoreland, Hanover, St. James, Trelawny, St. Ann, St. Mary, Portland and St. Thomas. Each Queen has to undertake a project to benefit the community and the diaspora in the UK will be able to link up with the Queen and parish that their parents or grandparents hail from on the Jamaica Parish Ambassador Program (JPAP).
Rachelle Brammer-Knowles expressed her appreciation of the event:
“Out of many one people together we stand. It was an amazing event. JamIn did a great job of informing us as first, second and third generation Jamaicans about the developments of Jamaica. More importantly, we are now more aware of the ways we can help to support the Jamaican economy and improve the lives of our people. I can truly say that the JamIn event was full of positive vibes and a room of people who have nothing but love for Jamaica and every single one of us have signed up to support programmes such as ‘Adopt a Clinic’ and the Jamaican Parish Ambassadors Program. I look forward to more events and meetings.
On the night, there were presentations about various investment opportunities in Jamaica and the adopt-a-clinic initiative to help invigorate health centres in Jamaica via donations of monetary gifts or services. There were also performances by 2017 Song 4 Jamaica winner, Zeena Banks and finalist Garfield Walter (aka Ash I).
JamIn Regional Director, Khori Hyde, discussed ways in which the diaspora could support the Jamaican economy with small investments: “1.9 million tourists visit Jamaica every year. Retention is critical but only 20% of revenue from tourism is retained in Jamaica. We need to take control of this and one of the ways we can to do that is to invest in real estate in Jamaica. I’m a part of JamIn because we are going somewhere and we work with other organisations that are also upwardly mobile.”
JamIn has plans to host the event in other parts of the UK, starting with Manchester, in a bid to emulate the success of the London event.
Fully signed-up members will also receive a membership card, which entitles them to 12 months of exclusive benefits in the UK and Jamaica ranging from car hire to theme parks.
“We use diverse methods to achieve what may seem unachievable. We start small and grow big. Jamaica needs the diaspora and they will respect the talents and support you are able to contribute.” added Khori.
by Abigail Etim-Reid