VOICES

The first in our series, His Excellency Seth Ramacon Jamaican High Commissioner answers some questions presented by the public

My maternal grandparents were born in Jamaica but my mother was born here. Am I entitled to Jamaica citizenship?

Yes, you can apply for Jamaican citizenship at the Jamaican High Commission in London, 1-2 Prince Consort Road, London SW 7 2BZ.

Applicants should be able to show the clear line of descent through either one parent or grandparent as well as provide all original birth certificates with the name of their parent and/or grandparent and marriage certificate, if applicable.

This documentation should also include passport, drivers’ licence or biometric card. Forms and further instructions are available on the website of the Jamaican High Commission www.jhcuk.org.

Are there any incentives to encourage graduates of Jamaican descent to do work placements in Jamaica?
Yes, there are a number of job placement opportunities including exchanges between overseas institutions of higher learning.
The Grace Kennedy Birthright programme is one specific programme which facilitates Jamaican descendants who are studying at the tertiary level to participate in a five (5) week internship at the internationally recognised Jamaican company, Grace Kennedy and Co. Ltd. Please see the following link for further information: https://www.gracekennedy.com/birthright/

Will Brexit have a positive impact on the Diaspora and what do you think?
It is likely that Brexit will impact on the Jamaican community but the extent of its effect is still not clear. Main implication could include changes in immigration rules which could impact negatively on the Diaspora. At the same time, some of these changes could facilitate young persons, particularly those interested in business and trade. The High Commission will continue to monitor developments and assist its Diaspora, as and where the need arises.

What plans are in place to ensure the Windrush Fiasco never happens to the diaspora again?
The Government of Jamaica, in unison with its Caribbean colleagues, have continued in its efforts to collaborate with the British Government in ensuring that priority attention is given to this situation and that an effective, fair and long term solution is found to address the situation of undocumented migrants from the Windrush era and their dependents.

The Government of Jamaica is encouraged by the various efforts being made by the UK Government to address the Windrush crisis through actions such as the establishment of the Windrush Taskforce, the Compensation Scheme, the appointment of an independent Advisor to the Compensation Scheme and the appointment of an Inspector of Constabulary to oversee the Lessons Learned Review Process.

Is it safe to go on holiday to Jamaica?
Jamaica is certainly open for business and remains a safe destination for vacation. In 2017, 4.3 million tourists visited Jamaica, an increase of 16.1% over 2016. This is in fact, the highest number to have visited the country in a year. The Government is fully committed to addressing crime and has put in place stringent measures. These measures have happily not prevented tourists from visiting our shores. Nevertheless, as with travelling to any country, we encourage the usual safety precautions and due diligence to ensure an enjoyable and trouble free visit.

What plans does the Jamaican government have to reduce/stop returning residents being murdered?
The Jamaican Government has put in place strategic initiatives to reduce crime in general through smart policing, the implementation of the ZOSOs and States of Emergency which have so far been positively assisting in the fight against crime.

The Government of Jamaica has developed a Five Pillar Crime Strategy for Crime Prevention and Citizen Security, which includes: effective policing, swift and sure justice – meaning improved Court Management and reduction in delays; situational prevention – The aim is to reduce opportunities for crimes through safe design of environments; crime prevention through social development; rehabilitation and redemption.

Are there any plans to extend the pension age?
Yes there is a plan within the public sector to extend the pensionable age to 65 years. This has commenced on a phased basis.

Drill music raps are about the social problems faced by the poorer sections of the diaspora – is it also banned in Jamaica?
The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica is the statutory body established by the Broadcasting and Radio Re-Diffusion Amendment Act of 1986 to monitor and regulate the electronic media in Jamaica. This includes free-to-air radio and television, as well as subscriber television (STV) or Cable.

The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica ensures that there is an acceptable standard of music played on the public airwaves in Jamaica. Violent lyrics which would incite persons to break the law are not encouraged although insightful commentary on social issues is aired in the public domain.

Is the JHC running programmes to encourage skilled Jamaicans and their descendants to be motivated to return or migrate to Jamaica to help build and boost infrastructure and the economy in general?

The Jamaican High Commission is very keen on strengthening its engagement with skilled Jamaicans and their descendants and has been actively pursuing programmes to encourage their migration or investment in Jamaica.

The High Commission has been collaborating with JAMPRO to engage business investment by Diasporans. It has also been working with its Youth Ambassador, various groups and individuals to encourage interest in Jamaica.

The High Commission recently hosted a successful Youth Forum, as well as a youth engagement with Senator the Honourable Pearnel Charles Jr, newly appointed Minister of State with responsibility for Diaspora Affairs.

It may be noted that, the Jamaican Government is currently developing its logistics hub and has been encouraging investment in Jamaica through various means, including real estate, agriculture and AirBnB investment or in the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

What are you doing to assist the near destitute of the diaspora – any advice would be welcomed?
One of the main priorities for the Government of Jamaica is to protect the interest of its nationals overseas. In this regard, the High Commission has been providing advice and support to the extent possible to destitute members of its community. The High Commission also works with philanthropic organisations and professionals who provide pro-bono skills and advice to nationals.

The staff of the High Commission are known for their caring, compassionate nature and have continued to work beyond the call of duty to assist those persons who have found themselves in unfortunate circumstances as best as circumstances allow.

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