WASHINGTON, DC – Educator Dr. Karren Dunkley has emerged the winner in the elections to represent the North East United States on the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC) recently introduced by the Jamaica government to replace the Diaspora Advisory Board.

Dr. Dunkley was among five candidates vying for the position. Of the 712 persons who voted online in the North East region of the US which boasts approximately one million Jamaicans in the United States, Dr. Dunkley received 372 votes. Her closest rival was the Immediate Past President of the  National Association of Jamaica and Supportive Organizations, NAJASO, Dr. Robert Clarke, who was only able to amass 251 votes.

Dr. Oliver Jones and Mr. Donald Fonseca received as grand total of 32 votes each, while the other candidate, Mr. Wayne Seaton was only able to scrape 25 votes.

Voting in the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC) elections was conducted electronically via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, beginning November 21 and ending December 15, 2019.

Candidates in the GJDC elections were nominated in the United States, UK and Canada. In addition, Jamaicans from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe will join the elected members on the Council in order to support the growth of the movement in those locations.

The GJDC, establishment of which was endorsed by delegates at the eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference held in June, will replace the Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board.

It will comprise 28 members, 14 of whom will be elected from Canada, the United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America (USA), and the other 14 appointed. The Council will involve persons with expertise in the areas of Education; Health and Wellness; Arts; Sports and Culture; Citizen Security; Development Issues; Faith-based Community and Commerce.

Dr. Dunkley, who was named one of the seven best principals in the Philadelphia School District of Pensylvania, in an interview said: “As the north-east representative for the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council, my focus will be on working with the diaspora and the Jamaican Government to address issues such as education, skills training and entrepreneurship, youth empowerment, access to clean water for every household, and community development.”

In the weeks leading up the elections, there was strong controversy surrounding the composition of the new Board and the role that the elected representatives will play in the new organization. This prompted a statement from Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Audrey Marks indicating that there will be no change in the role that elected members of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC) will play versus the current role of persons elected as Diaspora Advisory Board members when the new body comes into operation next January.