Imagine Jamaica 50

Imagine Jamaica

January 1, 2012

Dear Aunty:

Happy New Year!   I predict that 2012 will be a year to remember for Jamaicans at home and abroad.  Between the Olympics, The US Election, the End of the World according to the Mayan Calendar, and the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Jamaica and Trinidad, we will have more than enough on our plate.   Last independence, I told you to my 50th Birthday wish list for Jamaica… and despite the fact that only 215 days remain in the countdown…I still believe we can pull off some miracles. Because the fact that Sister P horse run off with the Cash Pot is a miracle indeed. We in the Diaspora were in general on tenterhooks about which way it would go.  Some of the diehards travelled home to vote, while others like me remained firmly on the bench praying above all for a free and fair and violence absent election. Well God answers prayers because the calm and quiet of December 29, 2011 will certainly go down in history.  The high drama has played out and now that the election is over and the people have spoken about the need to balance people’s lives as well as the Bank book, I really hope that we can get down to the business of commemorating the 50th in a really special way, I am praying we can go beyond events to using the occasion to plant the seeds for a transformational shift in the process of  Jamaica’s development with the partnership and participation of  the Jamaican diaspora.   Not one of the fifty things on my list is impossible. All it takes it will!

Take NUMBER 2 on my birthday wish list — 5,000 Diaspora Mentors for 5,000 Student Mentees –.  let’s call it for short – ‘The Mentors Project’  that is an easy-easy-easy sell off.   All it would take is an organization like the Jamaica Council of Churches to set up a relationship with all the Jamaican-dominated churches in the US, Canada and  UK which I guesstimate at a minimum of 100 … and ask them to nominate fifty people each to be mentors.  Likewise 100 churches in Jamaica would nominate 50 youth to be mentees.  The mechanics, rules and regulations of the mentorship program to be worked out will ensure a win-win for youth mentees and mentors alike and all participants would be asked to commit for one year.  Planning, development and registration would be effected between now and through the period of Lent.   On Easter Sunday – the program would be launched, consecrated and plans put in place in all participating Churches with partners linked by Skype or other such media.   The project would culminate in a convocation on Easter Sunday 2013 in Jamaica.  Can such a wish come true?  Will the Jamaica Council of Churches and some church leaders in Jamaica at home and abroad help make my birthday wish come true?  Would you like to help make my wish come true?

Fifty Wishes in 366 days!

Walk good,


About the author

Dr. Claire Nelson

Dr. Claire Nelson has been actively engaged in the business of international development for more than twenty-five years. She works in the area of project development and management, with a particular focus on private sector development. A renaissance woman, she has been described as a Social Entrepreneur, Futurist, and Change Leader.

The first Jamaican woman to earn a Doctorate degree in an engineering discipline and the only black in her graduating class, Dr. Nelson holds Industrial Engineering Degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Purdue University, and a Doctorate in Engineering Management from George Washington University. She has served on numerous boards and committees including: US Department of Commerce US/Caribbean Business Development Council Advisory Board; Black Leadership Forum; DC Caribbean Carnival Association; International Think Tank Commission on Pan-African Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister of Barbados; African-American Unity Caucus; National Democratic Institute/Carter Center Election Observer Mission to the Dominican Republic; Black Professionals in International Affairs; and the International Committee of the National Society of Black Engineers-Alumni Extension.

Dr. Nelson is sought after as a speaker on issues pertaining to economic development, globalization, and issues concerning the Caribbean and its peoples. She is a frequent guest on the television talk show CARIBNATION seen on cable TV in the Washington D.C. area, as well as CARIBBEAN EXCHANGE on WEAA, Morgan University Radio. Her speaking engagements have included: National Association of Security Professionals; Congressional Black Caucus Conference; Harvard University Black MBA Association Conference; Women & Micro-enterprise Conference, African Development Bank; Florida International University; Cincinnati Women's Chamber of Commerce; US Black Engineer of the Year Annual Conference; Howard University; Sacramento State University; National Council of Negro Women; and National Congress of Black Women.

Dr. Nelson has been a frontrunner in the challenge of placing the topic of social exclusion and diversity on the agenda of the multilateral development assistance institutions. As a result of her pioneering work, she was invited to the Salzburg Seminar as a Fellow in 1997 and 1999 of the Seminars on Race and Ethnicity, in 2000 and 2003 to the Fetzer Institute Advisory Group on Moral, Ethical and Spiritual Leadership; and as Faculty at the Seminar on Leadership Across Geographic Borders and Cultural Boundaries. Dr. Nelson was also a participant in the Bellagio Consultation on the UN World Conference on Racism (WCAR) organized by the International Human Rights Law Group, and was active on the Working Group on Globalization and Transnational Corporations.
Dr. Nelson is Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum which provides strategic foresight and development futures consulting practice. An award-winning writer and performance artiste, Dr. Nelson's OpEd pieces have appeared in media outlets such as Morning Edition, National Public Radio; WEAA FM and WHUR FM; and CaribNation TV.

1 Comment

  • Ah Cheney. What are going to do for comic relief when the press finally stops giving him voice?