PM Andrew Holness, while addressing the Diaspora conference, virtually said that the tourism sector had suffered a loss of billion dollars due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. PM Holness also noted that during this time of the pandemic, the country had maintained its foreign currency cash-flow due to the transaction of the diaspora to their people in Jamaica.
PM Holness said that with their foreign exchange inflows from tourism had been decimated, remittances from their diaspora had been invaluable in maintaining their balance of payments as well as their net international reserves, which remained unsinkable at over US$3 billion.
Prime Minister said that there might be no more evident testimony of the depth of the assistance of the diaspora for their families in Jamaica, even though the most challenging conditions of the pandemic.
PM Holness said that beyond sending remittances, the diaspora continues to promote trade, establish businesses and spur entrepreneurship on the island. But he says there is still more to be done. The Prime Minister says that the diaspora has not yielded its full potential in avenues of investments on the island.
PM Holness stated that there had been so many areas in which they would have welcomed the investment of the diaspora. It has not just about sending your payments. There have been real business opportunities in Jamaica that they encourage them to take advantage of.
PM Holness also encouraged them by saying that they have seen massive interest, including from Jamaicans who were serious about making investments in the area, and they would have invite members of their diaspora to set up a small hotel or set up a large resort development to consider returning home and making those investments.
The Prime Minister noted, for example, that another way the Jamaican Diaspora can spend in the country is to “own a piece of Jamaica” with the purchase of homes. PM Holness said that the diaspora should also consider investing in companies and other sectors similar to cyberspace and infrastructure.