UK Jamaicans should serve their country of origin, says Caribbean leader

Jamaica’s opposition leader, Andrew Holness has promised to bring the skills of the UK Jamaican community to the Caribbean.

He told a 300-plus audience at London’s Kensington Town Hall that he wanted a national service programme for people in Britain.

The leader of the Jamaican Labour Party was speaking at an event, The Future of Jamaica, organised by the Jamaica National Building Society on 4 June 2015.

He said: “The US has a good model called The Peace Corp. I’m sure we can find people abroad. What is required is an organization or structure that could create a pathway for you to get into that programme.

“We are going to set up a national service programme with a sub-programme for people from abroad who want to serve Jamaica.

“We are also going to have a special summer programme for third or fourth generation Jamaicans, who are at university, for them to serve in Jamaica.”

The Peace Corp was created by US President Kennedy to enable Americans to carry voluntary work abroad.

The former Prime Minister also told the audience that there were 800,000 people of Jamaican decent in the UK, 1 to 1.5m in the US and 400,000 in Canada. They could form the basis of a ‘British Commonwealth’ for his country.

He explained: “I’m also considering giving the vote to Jamaicans in the Diaspora. Why doesn’t Jamaica develop it’s own Commonwealth? There are more Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica than inside.

“It would be a good start to do what the French are doing where they have three Diaspora seats in their Parliament.”

His speech went on to cover his vision for Jamaican politics and economics.

His vision included tackling problems caused by Jamaica’s ballooning $J2 trillion national debt through a sovereign wealth fund.

He said some of the Jamaican people’s $J4 billion savings could go into the fund. It could be can turned into bonds and invested in public infrastructure such as bridges, roads and buildings.

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