Thursday 13 December, 2018

Govt appoints new Ambassador responsible for Diaspora Affairs

In a move to embrace the Saint Lucian Diaspora, the Government of Saint Lucia has appointed a new Ambassador responsible for Diaspora Affairs. Dr. Jocelyne Clarke-Fletcher will lead the charge to bring Saint Lucians together in a holistic way, enhancing efforts of the Government to forge links with nationals overseas.

Working within the Office of Diaspora Affairs, the role of the Ambassador will be to communicate with non-resident Saint Lucians in different countries, and to assist them in coming home, creating linkages for investment, providing support, or avenues for giving back.

Dr. Fletcher worked previously for the Government of Montserrat as Chief Human Resources Manager and also worked for many years as a lecturer for the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and the University of the West Indies. A human resource management specialist, her cadre of work also includes several posts with the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

For the new Diaspora Affairs Ambassador, her new role came out of a desire to return to her homeland to serve her country. As a returning national, she understands how nationals outside feel and desires to help bridge the gap.

“We left our country for various reasons, probably to better the lives of our families, improve our education, or have a better economic standing, but when we leave our country we don’t leave because we divorce it or don’t care about it. It’s always there, in our hearts.”

Plans moving forward in Government’s efforts targeting the Diaspora include actively engaging Saint Lucians overseas and including them in matters of national development, enhancing the existing package of measures designed to facilitate the process and encourage the return of national residents overseas, building on the capacity of Saint Lucia’s overseas offices to relate and interact with the Diaspora, and constructing a data base of skills within the Diaspora. There are also plans to strengthen the existing national framework for interacting with the Diaspora; including not only the Office for Diaspora Affairs, but all other national institutions which play a role in facilitating the embrace of the Diaspora.

“Successive governments have recognised the importance of having a diaspora policy, having a diaspora unit, and having an Ambassador responsible for Diaspora Affairs,” Dr. Fletcher noted,

The Office for Diaspora Affairs will also be responsible for acknowledging Diaspora efforts and contributions to Saint Lucia in everything from cultural recognition and exchanges to national emergencies. The Ambassador will be charged with responsibility for reaching out and working closely with other local and Caribbean groups and foundations based overseas.

“The Government’s policy is to communicate to non-resident Saint Lucians and to assist them in maintaining relations with their home country,” Dr. Fletcher said. “The Prime Minister and the Government are determined that these nationals know they are appreciated . . . and that the avenue is home. We’re willing to listen, and we’re willing to help.” 

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