September 29, 2017 Print

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New research finds that Jamaicans who have migrated out of Jamaica have played a role in the success of the Jamaican economy. The Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI), a Jamaican Atlas Network partner, released this information on June 16, which is celebrated as Diaspora Day and highlights the accomplishments of Jamaican people around the world.

“There are many areas of policy where CaPRI has changed the conversation and influenced policy,” said CaPRI Co-Executive Director Dr. Damien King.

Before the study, research on the diaspora was non-existent in Jamaica. CaPRI research officer Shanika Smart explained that “the information was very inadequate,” but if people are able to learn about the magnitude and significance of diaspora, they will understand its unique value. The study was originally created in hopes of finalizing the new National Diaspora Policy of Jamaica which provides a framework to maximize the contribution of overseas Jamaican nationals on Jamaica’s development.

“As we move forward, we work towards strengthening our relations with policy makers in order to enable a more seamless flow between the research we produce and decisions made in parliament and in cabinet,” said Dr. King.

The research proves that Jamaican-born people who travel outside of Jamaica return funds to the Jamaican economy through five target areas: remittances, tourism, philanthropy, investment, and exports. CaPRI then establishes theories about the economic value of such a diaspora and provides recommendations to effectively harness its potential value. CaPRI hopes that by developing research on the economic development in the Caribbean – like that of the Jamaican diaspora – it can change policy in Jamaica.

“To establish oneself as independent is both difficult and crucial,” Dr. King continued. “Any policy suggestion that happens to align with a position that is in the interest the government or opposition tends to be taken as evidence of partisan loyalty. At the same time, any association of CaPRI with loyalty to a party undermines the credibility we need to promote policy change. So battling against such notions is crucial to our effectiveness.”

CaPRI has most recently published a report on corruption in Jamaica and various means to confront it, titled Anti-Corruption Innovations: Strengthening Jamaica’s Integrity. The report suggests that Jamaica adopt the Citizen Feedback Monitoring Program (CFMP), a successful innovation implemented in Pakistan. The CFMP is a proactive complaint system where the government contacts citizens after utilizing public services asking for feedback, offering a low cost, technologically driven public accountability system.