Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Ralph Thomas says he has prioritized his roll as the interface between the diaspora and the government through direct outreach between members of the diaspora and various organizations.
Ambassador Thomas who was addressing a breakfast meeting of heads of diaspora organizations in New York at the Door Restaurant in Queens said, “as interface between our government and our diaspora I will be bridging the gap with information and better communication and with being the spokesperson for our mutual interest.”
He added that he believes that this presents a better opportunity for dialogue and in this regard the Embassy of Jamaica will serve as interlocutor.
The ambassador told the over 150 participants that on assuming office, both Prime Minister the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade the Honourable A.J. Nicholson instructed his to pay priority attention to the diaspora. He pointed out that since assuming office he has already visited and met with members of the diaspora in Seattle Washington, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York.
“Having lived and worked as a member of diaspora for over two decades and having shared many of the challenges and experiences that individuals go through there are a number of areas in which we will all have to work together to address,” said Ambassador Thomas. Among them he said are; immigration and deportation, economic empowerment of Jamaicans in the diaspora promoting cultural awareness especially among second and third generation Jamaicans, and the strengthening of the bonds between the Jamaican in the United States and citizens back home.
The ambassador added that he would like to see the diaspora feature as a centerpiece of our development and investment strategy and for the diaspora to understand how to connect with Jamaica in different ways and benefit from those opportunities that exist.
The breakfast meeting with various head of Jamaican organizations in New York was organized by the North East Advisory Board, which is chaired by Attorney Joan Pinnock. Also in attendance was Jamaica’s Council General to New York, Mr. Herman Lamont.
Ambassador Thomas who paid a three-day visit to New York met with members of the North East diaspora board, launched a toy drive to assist children in various children home and the Bustamante Children’s Hospital. He also delivered the keynote address at the 21st Anniversary Annual Scholarship Gala of the New York based Jamaica charity, Children of Jamaica Outreach, and attended church services at the Lenox Road Baptist Church in Brooklyn and the St. John’s United Methodist Church in Queens.