Foreign Ministry claims deception with ‘parallel diaspora conference’ Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) has cited what it is claiming to be unauthorised use of the ministry’s 10th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference logo and images in the promotion of what has been referred to as a “parallel” diaspora conference.

The ministry, in a statement on Friday evening, said the “parallel” event is being staged by a small group of individuals within the diaspora.

The ministry expressed concern about what it said is the deployment of promotional material that bears a striking resemblance to the ministry’s official communication for its conference, which is scheduled for June 16-19, 2024.

The ministry said this “parallel” action “is clearly intended to sow confusion and mislead members of the diaspora”. 

In elaborating, the MFAFT said the “purported parallel diaspora conference, scheduled for the same period, June 16-19, 2024, under the aegis of the Jamaica Diaspora Crime Intervention and Prevention Task Force (JDCIPTF), is not in any way associated with the ministry, and has been organised without any consultation or endorsement from the ministry, nor the legacy partners or sponsors long associated with diaspora engagement.”

The ministry urged “an immediate cessation of use of any material resembling the official promotional content of the MFAFT, especially those related to the 10th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference.”

“Such actions are misleading, and undermine the Government’s engagement with the diaspora, constituting passing off,” it said, adding that, “Further use may prompt legal action from the ministry.” 

The MFAFT also cited and claimed that, “on its formation, the JDCIPTF was supported by the MFAFT through its embassy and consulates in the United States. However, upon the 2019 decision of its then convenor, Captain Rupert Francis, to change the agreed mandate of the organisation from a taskforce to a crime-prevention consultancy group, this organisation [reportedly] lost most of its membership and credibility.”

The ministry also claimed that from then, the JDCIPTF “no longer performed its agreed functions and, therefore, ceased to be associated with the MFAFT.”

It said the ministry, therefore, “wishes to advise the public that the JDCIPTF does not act for or on behalf of or in support of or in any association with the Government of Jamaica, nor are any of the events being promoted by the JDCIPTF in any way affiliated with, or endorsed by, the Government of Jamaica.”

The release added that, “The ministry is also advised that neither the (“parallel”) conference event,” nor protest action that the ministry claimed is being organised by the JDCIPTF, is being done in association with or with the support of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council.

The ministry said it is aware of personal grievances openly expressed by elements among the organisers of the “parallel” event, towards the Government of Jamaica, citing purported plans to protest against crime and corruption in Jamaica, which it said is within the context of “the best scores issued by Transparency International having been received by the current Government, and a notable 14 per cent reduction in major crimes in the past year, coupled with a further 13 per cent decline recorded in the first quarter of 2024, signalling a continued positive trend in public safety.”

The ministry called for a concerted effort among Jamaicans in the diaspora to help curb the flow of illegal weapons, particularly from the US, to Jamaica.