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Foreign minister confirms Observer report

Audrey Marks is ambassador-designate to Washington; Johnson heading to UK

Saturday, March 27, 2010    

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JAMAICA'S Foreign Minister Ken Baugh yesterday formally announced the appointment of businesswoman Audrey Marks as Kingston's new ambassador-designate to Washington, confirming Thursday's Observer lead story.

Dr Baugh, in a press release, also announced the appointment of Anthony Johnson, the outgoing ambassador in Washington, as Jamaica's high commissioner to Washington. Johnson will be replacing retired high commissioner Burchell Whiteman as Jamaica's top diplomat to the United Kingdom.

Both diplomats will take up their new assignments in May, the foreign ministry said.

The founder and CEO of the bill payment agency, Paymaster, Marks has also started and operated six previous businesses, including a 100-acre banana exporting farm, transportation company, and a real estate sales and development company. She has also managed a venture capital company with diverse investments in manufacturing, travel and entertainment activities.

Marks is deputy chairman of the Urban Development Company (UDC), director of the board of RBTT Securities Jamaica Limited, Jamaica Trade and Investment Company Limited, National Health Fund, Mona School of Business, as well as a number of private and public sector bodies.

A graduate of Immaculate Conception and Marymount High Schools, Marks holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in business administration from the University of West Indies and Nova University (Florida), USA, respectively.

Ambassador Johnson took up his posting in Washington in January 2008, succeeding Professor Gordon Shirley, now principal of the University of the West Indies.

Johnson pursued a career path embracing a number of different fields, including politics, and served as minister of state in the Edward Seaga-led Jamaica Labour Party Government in the 1980s. He has also been Opposition spokesman on a variety of subjects, including education, agriculture, mining, energy and technology. From 1980 to 1983 and 1993 to 2007, he was a senator, serving as minority leader from 1991 to 1995. He has also been a member of the Jamaican Electoral Advisory Committee.

An old boy of Kingston College, Johnson is a graduate of the University of California with an MA degree in international trade and finance, and a BA in economics.

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