Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 16th 2017 Contents A12 news
guardian.co.tt Friday, June 16, 2017
Jamaica to study
value of Diaspora
KINGSTON, Jamaica---A study to examine the value
of the diaspora to Jamaica's development will be
launched on Jamaica Diaspora Day that will be
celebrated today here and overseas.
The launch is being jointly undertaken by the
Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) and
the Jamaica Diaspora Institute (JDI), with support
from the Jamaica National Group.
Executive Director of the JDI, Professor Nev-
ille Ying and Co-Executive Director of CaPRI,
Dr. Damien King, will be the main speakers at
Research Officer of CaPRI, Shanike Smart, says
some of the findings of the study will be shared at
the upcoming seventh Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference, slated
for July 23 to 26 in downtown Kingston.
This will be one of the main events to mark Jamaica's 55th
anniversary of Independence.
"We will be presenting our findings on one of those days,
especially where we are at in terms of the survey. We are hoping
to wrap up the entire research within the following month or
two," she says, adding that CaPRI will be working overtime
to meet the deadline.
Explaining the reasons behind the study, Smart notes that
there is need for a comprehensive collection and representation
of the true value of the diaspora.
"I think the information existing is very inadequate and
mostly anecdotal... . I find that persons just have a little bit
here and a little bit there," she says, adding that if people do
not understand the magnitude and significance of the diaspora,
the value will be underestimated.
"We want to add evidence. We want to empirically justify
the perceived value. Persons do believe there is value, but we
want to put a number on that."
Smart points out that the data will show whether there is
economic value that the Government is not exploiting and what
can be done to get the value that exists, and the best strategy
to get this.
"Rather than just speaking from the top of our heads, or from
where we think we are, we want to empirically add to the dis-
cussion and allow for a more informed discussion."
Smart, who is the lead researcher on the project, says survey
questionnaires have already been issued in the diaspora.
•From Page A8
In early May, Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley had opened the Government's cam-
pus plaza which houses ministries such as
The Office of the Attorney General, Min-
istry of Finance, BIR, Customs and Excise
and other government departments. Con-
struction on the plaza had begun in 2004.
He added that the keys to a building
rented by the personnel department were
returned. The building was being rented for
$1 million plus VAT per month for the period
December 10, 2012 to August 31, 2016.
Explaining further why the building,
which was supposed to be occupied by the
personnel department, was not occupied,
Cuffie said, "Delays in outfitting the build-
ing were partly the cause for non-occupa-
tion of the personnel department rental."
He added that the Property and Real
Estate Services Division of the Ministry
introduced measures to ensure that all Min-
istries had available funding to undertake
outfitting prior to any rental agreement.
Referring specifically to One Alexandra
Place, which cost the Government over $50
million in rent between December 2012 and
July 2016, Cuffie said the building was now
fully occupied under the same terms that
had been previously negotiated.
Referring to the overall work of the Au-
ditor General's department, Ali told the
PAC on Wednesday that he was not sat-
isfied with the improvements for the
period ended September 30, 2016
compared to the previous year,
"there were not much improve-
ment in certain areas which
were reported on in the 2015
report, these areas continue to
Ali also told the PAC that
one ministry paid as much as
$53.5 million from December
2012 to July 2016. He noted
that rental payments have
Stating that public funds are
not being utilised in an efficient way he said,
"Two entities continue to pay rental while
one took up occupancy in March 2017."
Regarding the internal audit function in
the public service, Ali said it appeared this
function was very weak. Highlighting some
issues, he said rental payments were being
made without lease agreements in place,
proper maintenance of inventory records,
and the tagging of items as well as overpay-
ments, continue to be a major concern for
the Auditor General's department.
He said: "My department anxious-
ly awaits the full implementation of the
Public Procurement and Disposal of Public
Property Act which promises to improve
transparency and accountability in all gov-
Asked by Chairman of the PAC, Op-
position MP Bhoe Tewarie about the rec-
ommendations the committee can make
concerning improving the internal audit
function, Ali said the Comptroller of Ac-
counts was dealing with that issue and
would be looking at it when implementing
their Information Management System.
Ali, pressed further about recommenda-
tions for his department, said technology
and qualified people in IT, finance and
accounting would make a difference in the
work that they do.
Place now fully
While T&T acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the
Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol in November 2000,
Nakhid and Barbado agreed it was disappointing there was
no domestic legislation to address the situation.
Barbado said with the lack of national legislation, the
UNHCR was limited in its capacity to perform Refugee Status
While the UNHCR can assist with registering, conducting
eligibility interviews, recognition of refugee status, reset-
tlement and increasing public awareness, the LWC's func-
tions include screening, psychological care, humanitarian
assistance, presenting asylum seekers to the Immigration
Division and ensuring their registration with the UNHCR.
The Immigration Division is tasked with registering all
asylum seekers and refugees, issuing and renewing Orders of
Supervision, as well as dealing with migrant matters related
to their presence in T&T.
Among the concerns often raised by asylum seekers and
refugees in T&T, Nakhid said persons were particularly
concerned about detention, being irregular/undocumented,
uncertainty over being resettled, lack of ability to work and
access education, inability to access proper health care, har-
assment and discrimination, and lack of procedural clarity.
While education at the primary and secondary levels are
free to the public, officials admitted there were barriers
for many refugee children such as the ability to speak and
understand English as well as the lack of available spaces.
As a result, the UNHCR through the LWC facil-
itates the enrollment of children of refugee and
asylum-seekers in schools, along with access to
public health facilities as well as the services of
private doctors who provide a pro-bono facility
to these persons.
No domestic legislation to
address refugee situation
Continues from Page A3
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