The Launch of the newly formed Jamaican Diaspora – Canadian Foundation (JD-CF) took place at the Club Paradise in Etobicoke on December 2, 2005, in the presence of some 250 invited guests.
The organization announced that its mandate is to cause Jamaicans to come together, for the purpose of enhancing Jamaica in the areas of national security, business, education and social development, and to impact positively the interests of Jamaica and Jamaicans everywhere.
Special VIP guests at the launch included the Hon. Alvin Curling, speaker of the House in Ontario, His Excellency Carl Marshall, High Commissioner to Canada, His Excellency Claudio Vale, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Miss Vivia Betton, Jamaican Consul General to Ontario, and Bishop Peter Morgan from Jamaica.
Philip Mascol, JD-CF President, and Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, Vice President, were hosts of the event. They explained that at the first ever Diaspora Conference held in Jamaica earlier this year, the Jamaican government, and as well as a group of companies within Jamaica’s business sector, recommended that an international Advisory Board be created to liaise with the island on matters relevant to enhancing the betterment of the island.
Two Canadian representatives were selected at the conference to represent Canada on this International Advisory Board, two from the United Kingdom, and three from the USA. The Board will meet with the Jamaican government and business officials twice per year in Jamaica. Each country was asked to form its own group or board. Canada has officially registered the JD-CF as a non-profit organization. An 11 person Canadian board has been selected, of which our own Neil Dalhouse has been appointed Board Secretary.
The president explained to the audience that a JD-CF website was being developed, a section of which was designed to contain a data base of professional Jamaicans living in Canada. This JD-CF website will be launched in about 3 weeks.
The JD-CF also announced that all Jamaicans, and people of Jamaican heritage are automatically deemed members of the JD-CF .
The organization has also created a paid up membership program to help build a database of Jamaican people within the Canadian Diaspora. Membership fees will fund the development of programs aimed at aiding Jamaica. Paid up Diaspora members will also receive substantial discounts from companies that offer goods and services in Jamaica. The JD-CF is currently in negotiations with Jamaican hotels, car rental agencies, clothing stores, etc, to offer these discounts. Mascol explained that this membership program will not only be a benefit to paid up members, but will be a great support to the “BUY JAMAICAN” slogan.
Information on these discounts will be published on the JD-CF ‘s website. A membership pin and card will be given to all paid up members. Membership fees will be $50 per single person, and $75 per family. Corporate membership will also be made available, and further details on membership will be listed on the JD-CF web site.