ENGAGING THE ST. KITTS NEVIS DIASPORA

Tapping Resources Abroad to Strengthen Development at Home

Having hosted the first Diaspora Conference in June of 2018, many participants are of the view that the exercise was indeed a success; an undertaking by the Ministry that was long overdue.

Using the equation of the 2013 World Bank Study which suggests that, “There is nearly one person living abroad in the Diaspora to every person still resident within the Caribbean,” it is safe to suggest that there is approximately fifty thousand (50,000) persons throughout the St. Kitts-Nevis Diaspora, living mainly in the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Asia, the Caribbean and Europe.

As a result, many are convinced that the Diaspora can play a very important and critical role in development related activities within the Federation.

According to The World Bank Study of 2013, the Diaspora has an untapped potential of resources necessary for economic development. Thus, given the aim of the 2018 Conference being, “The facilitating and strengthening of networking between the Diaspora and National entities through interactive sharing and exchange of knowledge,” one can argue that the theme, “Building Partnership towards Sustainable Development” captured the intention of the Conference.

Time for Action

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Mark Brantley posited so eloquently that, “The Diaspora Conference 2018 will prove to be pivotal to our Federation and nationals in the Diaspora.” He further stated that, “The Conference should serve as a vehicle for mobilizing and sharing knowledge, expertise and financial resources in support of our country’s commitment to sustainable development.” The broad reach of the Conference should also help to facilitate greater Diaspora engagement and involvement.

The opportunities for more collaborative engagement form an integral part of the Federation’s development. Nationals residing abroad have demonstrated in multiple ways that despite taking up residency abroad, they remain ever connected to their various communities, with many donating an array of supplies and much needed assistance to individuals and institutions. Others take seriously the remittances, food and other supplies they send to their families. Given the interconnectedness of our people facilitated by the power of technology, friends and family in the Diaspora are well informed on the socio-

political issues that affect the lives of their loved ones at home. Essentially, the Diaspora community is an active, interactive and dynamic extension of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Therefore, having heard what the Foreign Minister and others have advanced regarding the way forward on working with our diverse community in the Diaspora, it is necessary that people living in the Diaspora are better organized to tellingly and effectively contribute to the development of the Government and people of the Federation.

Finding an appropriate and organized avenue to share skills, expertise and innovative ideas with a view to building a better St. Kitts and Nevis should become a priority. Hence, the Director of the newly established Diaspora Unit, Mr. Duncan Wattley will engage in the urgent mobilization of individuals and organizations in the Diaspora to establish working groups (networks) that will translate many of the ideas into action.

The department will work closely with the overseas Missions and Ambassadors to make these efforts a reality.

Objectives:

1. Engage Permanent Missions

2. Mobilize Diaspora Community

3. Identify Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats to Initiative

4. Assess and Implement Recommendations