Govt. Assistance to Returnees

by Sonia
(London)

QUESTION about: Jamaican Government Assistance to UK Returnees

I would like to know why the government don’t do more to support returnees to Jamaica.

Returnees bring so much to Jamaica. You would think they would be treated better but instead they are ostracized from every angle.

I came to the UK 1975 to join my family. All I heard my parents talk about was to return to Jamaica.

Thank God they finally manage to fulfill their dream and return to Jamaica in the late 1990's.
I wish I could say it was good for them. They were robbed and cheated to name a few.

What I would like to know also why is it family that treat returnees the worst?

You know what? I give God thanks even though my father has since passed they both came out of Jamaica and back to the UK alive... .unlike many, namely the Canadian couple that was murdered.



ANSWER: by Kesha Stewart



Hello friend,
Indeed I have heard horror stories about returning residents who have met unfortunate challenges including financial loss, loss of property and in a few unfortunate circumstances, death.

None of these things should really happen to someone who has contributed their working life to developing a foreign country while at the same time contributing to their home country by way of remittances and other forms of assistance.


Like you my friend, I am saddened by these events. Home should be a welcoming place no matter where you have been and no matter how long you were away. Your return home should be a blissful time.


No matter where one is once you are away from home, thoughts of home will be on your mind. Perhaps this explains why your parents had thoughts about Jamaica even while they were living in the UK.

It seems they were among those Jamaicans who continue to remain in touch with their Jamaican roots and I regret that their return home wasn’t more pleasant and permanent.

In terms of support for retuning residents, I have seen the Jamaican Diaspora becoming more active in recent years.

They have a conference annually here in Jamaica and the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and other officials, government agencies and a wide cross-section of stakeholders attend.

The Diaspora is also engaged when government officials go overseas, particularly to North America. This testifies that the government is indeed growing more cognizant of the contributions made by Jamaicans who reside overseas.

I am thinking that it would be a great idea for the Diaspora community in the UK to seek ways of organizing itself so as to make representation t the Jamaican government so that the interests of Jamaica’s foreign nationals there may be engaged. This level of engagement should help to smooth the path for those of the Diaspora who intend to return home.

I learned some time ago that there is an organization to protect the interests of returning residents. You can find them here ja-rrr.com. Percival A. Latouche is the president and the official name is The Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents.

On the government’s part Jamaica customs has assistance and discounts to returning residents. Check them out here (jacustoms.gov.jm/service/returning-resident) and share with those who you know are planning to return to Jamaica.

Unfortunately I do not know definitively why family members are unkind to returning members. Jealousy and other issues such as personal conflicts and family feuds may be contributing factors. Seek mediation if such arise.

In the meanwhile, these are my Top Seven Tips for Returning Residents:

1.Maintain Ties. You may call, send emails use social media to keep in touch with family.

2.Follow Jamaican News. Keep informed through the newspaper or online means. Its good to check with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) which is the government information arm.

3.Visit Regularly. Return home as often as possible, this helps to keep you in touch.When you visit reach out to the community (don’t spend every day at the hotel). The residents will look out for you when you return because people relate better to those with whom they are connected.

4.Plan Your Return. Gather as much information as possible well in advance of your return (think years, not months) and make the necessary legal and personal moves so that you can have a smooth return.

5.Get Involved.When you return get involved in the community. Join organizations such as the neighbourhood watch, citizens association and church groups. You will become known and develop meaningful relationships.

6.Share Your Expertise. Volunteer in your area of interest. If you were a teacher get aligned to a school. You may be surprised to see how much your expertise can assist. You will likely become indispensable to the community.

7.Engage Your Friends. Your connections overseas are important reel them in to help. They can contribute cash or kind to your efforts to integrate. For example, Suppose you were making a donation to your church to enable it to reach out to the homeless. Your friends can provide some assistance if they are willing.

Should you decide to return to Jamaica I hope your experience will be rich and sweet and you won’t have to return to a foreign country for a second time. Really there is no place like home.

Kesha Stewart
Associate Writer

Comments for Govt. Assistance to Returnees

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Mar 03, 2018
Govt. Assistance to Returnees
by: Anonymous

Hello there
Thank you for taking the time to read my article and for your comments.
I welcome and appreciate your comments about the Jamaican Diaspora as I wasn't aware of it before, as I'm sure my parents would have also.
It warms my heart to know that returnees voices are now being heard in Jamaica and beyond.
I have noted your suggestion for Jamaicans living in the UK to come together and organise something similar to assist future returnees. I think this is a very good idea and will certainly be looking into it.

Thank you and God bless.

Mar 03, 2018
Govt. Assistance to Returnees
by: Anonymous

Hi there, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on the article I wrote.

I'm sorry to hear your home was broken into but very happy to know you didn't let that deter you from Jamaica. I too love Jamaica and long for the good old days.

I do not believe my parents were looking for 'assistance' as such from the Jamaican government. I think with everything that happened to them they just felt alone and abundant.

Since I wrote this article it has come to my attention there are organisations in Jamaica which is supported by the Jamaican government which offers support etc to returnees.

It is a pity my parents weren't aware of these organisations as I know they would have felt less isolated.

Once again thanks for your comments
God bless

Mar 03, 2018
My Jamaica
by: Margaret M. Walker

When I lived in Jamaica 5 years in the late '70's my home was broken into and things stolen. (my husbands work boots and my iron)0 to iron clothes. No jewelry, no other things. I knew there was some poverty and we were most fortunate. How could I be mad. I also kept fresh fruit in my car and whenever I was at a stop light I would give fruit to those who were begging for money. I guess times have changed, I miss the Jamaica I once knew....even that first year when it did not rain and Mona Damn was so low we only had running water for about 2 hours per day. Jamaica still holds a piece of my heart today.
I'm not looking for government assistance, but just to let Jamaica that I still love you.

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