US Ambassador to Jamaica meets with minister of foreign affairs, presents credentials

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Mr. Luis Moreno, US Ambassador-designate to Jamaica, presented his diplomatic credentials to Jamaica’s Minister o Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Arnold J, Nicholson.

January, 17, 2015, Kingston, Jamaica:The United States Ambassador-designate to Jamaica, Mr. Luis Moreno, presented his credential letters on Tuesday, January 13, to Senator the Hon. Arnold J. Nicholson QC, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade.

In addition to the presentation, there were initial discussions on Jamaica and US relations, the recent shift in US policy concerning Cuba, and Jamaica’s fiscal tightening efforts in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

After adding his support to the US policy shift toward Cuba, Minister Nicholson expressed appreciation for the opportunities and assistance the US had through the years provided Jamaica and the Caribbean. For his part, Mr. Moreno congratulated Jamaica on its progress with the fiscal programme and IMF collaboration. He also noted that he intended to promote an increase in US investments in the country and assistance in the area of security.

Both gentlemen also discussed the upcoming January 26 high level visit by Jamaica’s Prime Minister the Hon. Portia Simpson Miller to Washington. Prime Minister Simpson-Miller will participate in the Energy and Security Summit between the United States and the Caribbean. The summit will be hosted by US Vice President Joe Biden.–OnPointPress.net.

Jamaica appoints diplomats to Canada, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago

Janice Miller

Mrs. Janice Miller, Jamaica’s High Commission-designate to Canada.

Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade recently announced the appointments of three high commissioner-designates. Mrs. Janice Miller, currently serving as Under Secretary for multilateral affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has been appointed High Commissioner–designate to Canada. She succeeds High Commissioner Sheila Sealy Monteith, who served as high commissioner for Jamaica to Canada since 2010 and who will be returning to a senior position in the Ministry.

Mrs. Miller is a career diplomat with over 17 years of experience in the Jamaican foreign service. She is one of the deputy permanent representatives for the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and serves on the board of directors of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica and the Jamaica National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Mrs. Miller holds a first class honors bachelor of arts degree in history, french and politics from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, and a masters of philosophy degree in international relations from the UWI, St. Augustine. She is married to Donald Miller and they have two daughters, Rachel and Rianna. She is expected to assume duties in Ottawa by mid-October 2014.

Cheryl Spencer

Ms. Cheryl Spencer, Jamaica’s High Commission-designate to South Africa.

South Africa High Commissioner-designate Ms. Cheryl Spencer is currently the senior director for the foreign trade department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade with responsibility for trade policy, trade related issues and technical leadership and coordination of Jamaica’s positions in trade negotiations. She replaces High Commissioner Norma Taylor Roberts whose tour of duty came to an end earlier this year and who has proceeded on retirement.

Ms. Spencer’s education and training background is in international relations and trade, and includes an honors bachelor of science degree in international relations from the University of the West Indies (Mona) and certificates in trade policy and trade negotiating techniques and skills from the World Trade Organization (WTO).  A career diplomat, Ms. Spencer has 24 years experience in international relations and diplomacy at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. Proficient in both french and spanish, she has previously served as first secretary at the embassy of Jamaica in Brussels, Belgium, among other positions. Ms. Spencer currently serves as deputy chairman of the board of the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC).

David Prendergast

Mr. David Prendergast, Jamaica’s High Commission-designate to Trinidad & Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago High Commission -designate Mr. David Prendergast currently serves as head of trade agreements implementation coordination unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and has responsibility for overseeing the implementation of Jamaica’s obligations under the revised treaty of Chaguaramas in relation to the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the CARIFORUM-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). He will succeed Her Excellency Sharon Saunders who has served as High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago since 2009 and who is being reassigned to a senior position in Kingston.

A career diplomat, Mr. Prendergast holds an honors bachelor of science in international relations from the University of the West Indies and a master’s  degree in international relations and strategic studies from the Lancaster University in the United Kingdom where he was a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Scholar. Mr. Prendergast was an Edward S. Mason Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School from 2012-2013 where he received a Masters in Public Administration and a Certificate in Public Policy and Management.  Mr. Prendergast is married to Angella and they have one son, Joseph.
The High Commissioner-designate will assume duties in Port of Spain at end of 2014-OnPointPress.net.

 

Jamaica participates in Samoan small island development conference

Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson

Hon. Arnold J. Nicholson. Q.C., Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, leads delegation to Samoa on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from September 1-4.

Kingston: Jamaica, 9/3: Senator the Hon. Arnold J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator, is leading Jamaica’s delegation to the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which is being held in Apia, Samoa, from September 1 through 4, 2014. Minister Nicholson is joined by fellow Minister, the Hon. Robert Pickersgill, from the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, as well as Ambassador Paul Robotham, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Lt. Col. Oral Khan, Chief Technical Director, Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.

The theme of the conference, “The sustainable development of SIDS through genuine and durable partnerships”, signals the understanding that the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States, such as Jamaica, cannot be achieved without the cooperation of and critical partnerships with members of the international community.

Hon. Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Land, Water and Environment is part of the delegation to Samoa.

Hon. Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Land, Water, Environment and Climate Change, is part of the delegation to Samoa.

 

The conference is being held against the backdrop of extreme challenges being faced by SIDS, which include: the disproportionate effects of the impacts of climate change; the damaging consequences of natural disasters; threats to ecosystems and biodiversity; increased acidification of our oceans; diminished terms of trade; economic categorisations which affect access to aid; and high levels of unemployment, especially among young people. These challenges, taken individually or as a whole, have served to hinder or reverse the developmental progress of SIDS and have had a serious impact on their sustainable development efforts.

It is within this context that one of Jamaica’s priorities for the conference is to strengthen the partnerships established to ensure implementation of agreements related to the sustainable development of SIDS. The new plan of action for the sustainable development of SIDS – the Samoa Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway – will serve as the blue print for international action geared towards development of Small Island Developing States.

Lt. Col. Oral Khan

Lt. Col. Oral Khan, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Land, Water, Environment and Climate Change, is a member of the Samoan delegation.

During the conference, Jamaica will engage in important bilateral and multilateral meetings with key partners such as Germany, Israel, Japan, Singapore and Switzerland. Jamaica will also chair a critical discussion organized by the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on the Vulnerability of Caribbean SIDS.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which has collectively played an active role in deliberations on SIDS, will be represented by a number of heads of government,  ministers from Member States as well as the Secretary General-OnPointPress.net.

Jamaica appoints honorary consul in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta's New Consul General

Atlanta’s Honorary Consul Mrs. Jewel Scott.

Kingston, Jamaica, Sept. 2: Senator the Honorable Arnold J. Nicholson Q.C.and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade appointed Mrs. Jewel Scott, attorney, as Jamaica’s honorary consul in Atlanta on August 26, 2014.

As honorary consul, Mrs. Scott will provide consular services to Jamaicans and persons wishing to visit Jamaica. She will also promote the development of social, cultural and commercial relationships between Jamaica and Atlanta.

Mrs. Scott has over 30 years of experience in the legal profession and has served in many capacities in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the United States of America. In 2004, she made history when she was elected to public office as the first black female district attorney for the Clayton Judicial Circuit in Georgia, where she was responsible for all aspects of the management of the district attorney’s office. During her tenure, she successfully implemented the first “Pre-Trial Diversion Program” in that judicial circuit, for first time, non-violent offenders. She also implemented the “Boys to Men” mentoring programme for at risk boys in an effort to curb the incidence of juvenile offenders.

In 2008, Mrs. Scott returned to private practice were she focuses on family law, criminal law and mediation in civil matters. In the course of her work, she has encountered many Jamaicans for whom she has provided legal representation as well as advice on several matters. Having been sensitized to some of these issues, her experience in the legal field will be an asset.

Mrs. Scott was born in Manchester and grew up in Hanover. She obtained her bachelor of law degree from the University of the West Indies, Barbados in 1982, a certificate of legal education from the Norman Manley Law School in 1984 and her Juris Doctor from the Mercer University School of Law, Georgia in 2000. She credits her commitment to service to her parents, the Reverend Seymour and Lurline Hanson, her Christian and educational upbringing in Jamaica.

Mrs. Scott will replace former Honorary Consul Vin Martin O.D., who served with distinction for many years as Jamaica’s consular representative in Atlanta. Mr. Martin sadly passed away in July 2014, after retiring in 2013.–OnPointPress.net.

Jamaica undertakes extensive mapping initiative for Diaspora cohesion (Part 1)

minister

The Hon. Arnaldo Brown, M.P., Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, poses with OnPointPress.net’s Editorial Director Mrs. Carmen Glover, and Mrs. Rukiya Brown, of IOM, after an interview about the Mapping Jamaica Diaspora (MJD) Project at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on Monday, August 18, 2014. –Charles Glover Photo.

By Carmen Glover

Heeding feedback that emerged from the Diaspora Conference held in Jamaica a year ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has partnered with the International Organization for Migration, IOM‎, to compile a database of Jamaicans across the globe via mapping of their location through voluntary completion of an online survey. The extensive effort is described as the Mapping Jamaica’s Diaspora (MJD) Project and its objective is to determine, through responses to the survey, specific areas of interest expressed by Jamaicans across the globe and then harness the information to “create a borderless Jamaica.” The survey instrument is dual in nature, one to be completed by individuals and one by organizations and business entities.

The survey instrument was developed in December 2013 and the mapping project officially launched in June 2014. the minister of state, who is responsible for the project, recently visited the New York Tri-state area to launch the international version of the initiative and solicit support from the community in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Upon his return to Jamaica, the minister of state met with OnPointPress.net in Kingston at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on Monday, August 18 for an interview brokered by Assistant Director in the Ministry of Diaspora and Consular Affairs Department Mr. Lincoln Downer. Hon. Arnaldo Brown, Mrs. Rukiya Brown of the IOM (no relation to the minister) and Ms. Ann-Margaret Lim, who spearheads media affairs regarding the initiative, provided an overview of the project and feedback generated to date.

arnaldo brown

The Hon. Arnaldo Brown M.P, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is aggressively promoting the Mapping Jamaica’s Diaspora (MJD) Project.

“I th‎ink the response has been good” said the state minister, evaluating his week-long trip to the United States. “The mapping project is not a new idea. It’s been on the table since 2004. This particular project is the first in collaboration with the IOM.”

He explained that the project is funded by the IOM to the tune of US$100, 000. Rukiya Brown, who has provided insight on behalf of the IOM, explained that while the main thrust of the mapping project is to encourage brisk completion of the survey, the demographic tool experienced a myriad of growing pains initially.

“The survey is accessible on the IOM system and we had problems with the IP address at first but those issues were fixed,” she said. She further ‎explained that with the survey now properly streamlined, “IOM gets updates from the IP specialist three times per week to tell us how many people have taken the survey and how many people have subscribed to the website to get more information and our newsletter.”

diaspora conf

Concrete ideas for the Mapping Jamaica’s Diaspora (MJD) Project were explored at the Jamaica Diaspora Conference 2013. The 2015 conference will be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica in June.

‎Despite the period of time that has elapsed since the launch in June, only 300 persons had completed the survey as of the interview date with OnPointPress.net. But State Minister Brown shrugged off concerns about the low numbers at this stage of the process.

“I’m optimistic that we will meet our target. There is a build up that is happening and we will continue to plug it,” he said, explaining that the survey “is online and can be downloaded wherever you have Internet access. The issue is not whether people are supportive of the idea but if people are taking the survey.” He explained that during his week-long trip to the New York Tri-state area between August 9 to 17, he was heartened by the interest and commitment espoused by members of the Diaspora there.

“We got the support of Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, who attended the Independence Ball in New York last weekend. In his statement he mentioned the mapping project and encouraged people to sign up.”

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OnPointPress.net’s co-founders Charles and Carmen Glover pose with Ms. Ann-Margaret Lim after the interview.

But why would a Jamaican who resides overseas complete such a survey in the first place and is there a risk of personal information being compromised? According to information provided by Ms. Brown, the survey can be completed by anyone of Jamaican heritage by birth, descent, marriage, naturalization or registration. Hon. Brown explained that the potential benefits to be derived from completing of the survey ‎are far-reaching, with no discernible drawback since the information provided will be closely guarded and only used for the purpose outlined.

“There are two aspects to the project: reaching individuals and organizations, businesses etc,” the state minister explained. “This is an 18-month project. Between December 2013‎ to June 2014 it was the technical phase. The first six months was the construction of the website. The next twelve months is the promotion of the site. After June of next year people will still be able to take the survey,” he said, indicating that the process of survey completion will be ongoing. Once June 2015 rolls around, the database will be compiled of individuals who have taken the survey to that point. The advantages to participating, he said are immeasurable. Stating that Angel Investors will be developed, the state minister said:

OnPointPress.net's co-founders Charles and Carmen Glover share a moment with Mrs. Rukiya Brown of IOM, after the interview.

OnPointPress.net’s co-founders Charles and Carmen Glover share a moment with Mrs. Rukiya Brown of IOM, after the interview.

“Once you know where the person you can use the information. We plan to plug this information into JAMPRO’s Global Business Connect which will launch later this year.”

Inclusion in the database that will be complied from the completed survey ‎can make it easier for Jamaicans in the Diaspora who plan to return to Jamaica to live, work or to launch businesses, he said.

“The government of Jamaica has never ruled out the possibility of recruiting anywhere from across the Diaspora for positions available, example the commissioner of police,” he said. ‎”The idea is to create a database that is dynamic in access to intellectual ideas.”

The Hon. Arnaldo Brown, M.P, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is being proactive and aggressive in promoting the Mapping Jamaica's Diaspora (MJD) Project.

The Hon. Arnaldo Brown, M.P, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is being proactive and aggressive in promoting the Mapping Jamaica’s Diaspora (MJD) Project.

The promotion efforts for the mapping project are being coordinated through the various missions and consulates across the globe. Among the notable Jamaicans who have pledged support to the effort are track icon Merlene Ottey as well as various civic leaders. Participation is key, the minister explained, urging Jamaicans to embrace the slogan: “You count, I count, we all count,” in completing the survey so that their voices can be heard.In an effort to maximize the survey completion process, Ms. Brown, from the IOM, said that social media tools are being utilized aggressively.

“Currently we have a Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter.” However, she acknowledged that there is no involvement on LinkedIn despite that medium being the main engine used by businesses and professionals. “We’ve been active on social media but not as active as we would like to be,” she explained, but she said that will change.

To take the mapping survey visit: www.mapjadiaspora.iom.int, Twitter:@MapJaDiaspora, Facebook: MapJADiaspora.iom.int, Instragram:MapJaDiaspora. (In September, we will share feedback from the Diaspora)-OnPointPress.net.

Respected, beloved, Jamaican diplomat prepares to return home

Jamaica's High Commissioner Aloun-Ndombet-Assamba embraces Minister-Counsellor Lincoln Downer.

Jamaica’s High Commissioner Aloun-Ndombet-Assamba embraces Minister-Counsellor Lincoln Downer.

 

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.

Mr Downer shares a joke about being "The High Commissioner's Consort" with the audience.

Mr Downer shares a joke about being “The High Commissioner’s Consort” with the audience.

“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.

Mr Downer stands with Ms Beverly Lindsay who chairs the Association of Jamaican Nationals in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Mr Downer stands with Ms Beverly Lindsay who chairs the Association of Jamaican Nationals in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

 

Mr Downer stands with Mrs P. Patterson of the Northern Region, and shows off gift to the audience.

Mr Downer stands with Mrs. Pancy. Patterson of the Northern Region, and shows off gift to the audience.

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.”

The audience listens as Mr Downer delivers his farewell speech.

The audience listens as Mr Downer delivers his farewell speech.

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.”

Mr Downer poses with Ms Lindsay and other well-wishers at the Birmingham event.

Mr Downer poses with Ms Lindsay and other well-wishers at the Birmingham event.

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.

 

Diaspora Advisory Board Member Celia Markey, chair of Jamaicans Inspired Nathaniel presents gift

Diaspora Advisory Board Member Celia Markey and  Nathaniel Peat, chair of Jamaicans Inspired. present gift to Minister Counsellor Mr Lincoln Downer.


“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.”

Minister Counsellor Mr Lincoln Downer with members of Jamaica National Council,  Huddersfield, England.

Minister Counsellor Mr Lincoln Downer with members of Jamaica National Council, Huddersfield, England.

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.

Members of the Jamaican Community, London, Reading, England.

Members of the Jamaican Community, London and Reading, England.

“I look forward to returning to Jamaica to see what lies in store for me,” said Downer, whose time in England ends this weekend.

Jamaican author Deanne Heron presents Minister Counsellor with a copy of her book, Pardner Money Stories.

Jamaican author Deanne Heron presents Minister Counsellor with a copy of her book, Pardner Money Stories.

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