By Carmen Glover
There is an adage that underpins most successful careers: If you do what you love, you will always succeed. For Lincoln Downer, a Jamaican diplomat with a vast repertoire of foreign relations experience, that adage holds true. Downer has dedicated his life to serving the Jamaican community as a diplomat, accepting assignments across the globe and adroitly making spectacular contributions while simultaneously strengthening his legacy and sterling reputation. As his latest assignment in England comes to a close, Downer is focused on returning to his native Jamaica, eager to explore the new adventures that await him in Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“I started my diplomatic career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs years ago,” Downer stated in a recent telephone interview from England. He served as a protocol officer for three years in that ministry, processing documents for senior government officials as they prepared for meetings overseas. In that capacity, he also translated documents that were necessary to enhance the preparation process for those officials. “I have always enjoyed using my skills to make a meaningful impact and effect change, no matter what the assignment,” he said.
Those who have worked with him agree. “Lincoln Downer may be referred to as the ultimate protocol expert,” said Deputy Director of Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) Mr. Ephieum Allen. “His contribution to matters relating to Jamaica’s immigration, citizenship and passport has been integral to the vision of the government of Jamaica.”
For the past five years, Downer has worked at the Jamaican High Commission in London, England, in the role of Minister Counsellor for Diaspora and Consular Affairs. “My primary functions for the past five years have been to engage the Jamaican community, provide resources and services, build on relationships and manage the operations of the consular portion of the High Commission,” he said, reflecting on his achievements in the position. “I think I would say my proudest achievements in this post are completely revamping the consular operations by implementing procedures that resulted in greater transparency and accountability as well as improving the relationships and access for the local Jamaican community so that the consular operations are not as mysterious.”
Intrinsic to Downer’s success in the tapestry of his diplomatic career has been a humble, authentic personality that has allowed him to win and maintain the trust and admiration of the constituents that he serves as well as his peers and superiors. His affable nature, caring interactions and willingness to lend a helping hand, offer a word of prayer or simply share a word of encouragement has won him acclaim, love, support and respect. None of which he takes for granted.
“From the outside looking in, it’s not easy to understand some of the opportunities I have been fortunate to experience,” he said, reminiscing on his assignment immediately before he assumed his current post. “When I worked at the Jamaican Consulate in New York as a vice consul from 1998-2001, it never crossed my mind that I would return there as acting consul general from 2007-2008 before coming to England,” he stated, adding, “that is why it is so important to get along with people from all walks of life because you never know where you will end up.”
Downer earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, in 1995 and a certificate of translation in Spanish and English in 1997. But for Downer, who prides himself on learning as much as possible to effectively serve in his various posts, education is an ongoing process. Inspired to keep his skills sharp and evolving, he earned a diploma from the International Organization on Migration in Argentina in 2005 on inter-American migration, followed in 2007 with certification in the performance management training system.
“I look forward to returning to Jamaica to see what lies in store for me,” said Downer, whose time in England ends this weekend.
The real measure of achievement for professionals who are committed to their craft is the regard with which they are viewed in the community that they serve. For Downer, who has been enjoying a month-long farewell tour replete with receptions, gifts, hugs and embraces, the measure of his impact is felt profoundly among an audience who view him with mixed emotions: torn that he is moving on, while being comforted by the knowledge that wherever he goes next, his steps are ordered and he will be in the right place at the right time.—OnPointPress.net