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Promoting a positive link within the Commonwealth

TEAM: Liverpool Commonwealth Association members with Liverpool’s Lord Mayor

THE CITY of Liverpool has been leading the way in promoting business with the Commonwealth and a recent partnership looks set to increase links from the North West to Jamaica.

Liverpool Commonwealth Association was formed in 2015 following the International Festival for Business in 2014, one of most significant international trade and commerce events to be held globally.

The bi-annual event was hosted in Liverpool that year and welcomed more than 250,000 visitors from more than 100 countries.

The festival marked the beginning of Liverpool’s growing global network and the Government’s ambition to double UK exports by 2020.

Fifty-two countries are members of the Commonwealth, encompassing Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific. They are also among the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries.

Despite its troubled beginnings, Jamaica shares a unique history with the UK and Liverpool in particular. The focus now is to seek consensus on what the Commonwealth means in the modern world.

Jamaican-born lawyer and general secretary of the association, Garth Dallas, said: “There was a recognition of Jamaica’s historic relevance to Liverpool, albeit based on a slave history. Although we do need to recognise the ills of the past we also need to find a way to re- dress that and move forward to a brighter future.”

In 2015 Liverpool City Council accepted a motion written by Garth and Council representatives to officially foster stronger links between Jamaica and Liverpool. Ambitious plans were made to make Liverpool the UK’s first Commonwealth City, placing emphasis on migration, education, culture, people, youth, women and business.

That momentum continued and a visit from the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire prompted a new partnership from which the Merseyside and Cheshire Commonwealth Association has recently been formed.

“The expansion of the Commonwealth Association is testimony to the hard work that we have done since 2015 to galvanise the region’s Commonwealth diaspora communities to shape a vision for a new Commonwealth, one that is indeed a force for good and is truly inclusive,” added Garth.

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