New US envoy to Ja named; Obama appoints J'can to performing arts advisory committee

New US envoy to Ja named; Obama appoints J'can to performing arts advisory committee

Thursday, November 20, 2014

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United States foreign service veteran Luis G Moreno was yesterday confirmed as America's next ambassador to Jamaica.

Moreno's confirmation came a week after Jamaican-born Lorna M Johnson was named by President Barack Obama as a member of the Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Moreno, who now needs to be sworn in before taking up his new post, will replace Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater whose tour of duty ended late last year.

The US Department of State website says that Moreno entered the foreign service in 1983 and was posted to Bogota, Colombia in the spring of 1984.

During that tour he served initially in the consular section and later rotated into the Narcotics Assistance Unit. In 1986, he worked as American Citizens Service chief at the US Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua, after which he served as a staff assistant to the Front Office of the Latin American Bureau from 1987 to 1988.

Between 1988 and 1990 he was assigned to the US Embassy in Lima, Peru as the deputy director of the Narcotics Affairs Section where he managed the coca eradication project.

In 1990, Moreno returned to Washington where he served as the Colombia desk officer for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. Three years later, he was assigned to Port-au-Prince, Haiti as refugee co-ordinator where he repatriated "tens of thousands of returning 'boat people' as well as directed three political asylum in-country processing centres", the State Department said.

After the United Nations intervention in Haiti 1994, Moreno was made the US Embassy's first political military officer, and was Washington's primary advisor to the International Police Monitors.

Since then, he has served in Panama as narcotics director and law enforcement co-ordinator; Kurdish refugee co-ordinator overseeing the US Government efforts in moving Kurdish refugees to Guam and eventual resettlement in the US; and narcotics affairs director at the US Mission in Bogota, Colombia where he was responsible for the vast majority of US Government counternarcotics assistance to the Colombian Government.

In 2001, he returned to Port-au-Prince as deputy chief of mission where he played a key role in US Government efforts to find peaceful political solutions to the increasingly violent Haitian stalemate, and was the mission's point of contact with the Multinational Peacekeeping Force.

After Haiti, he was assigned as principal officer/consul general in Monterrey, Mexico and in 2007 he served as deputy chief of mission in Tel Aviv, Israel.

In May 2010 he was posted in Baghdad, Iraq.

The State Department also said that Moreno has received seven senior performance awards, four superior honour awards, three meritorious honour awards, and the American Foreign Service Association William Rivkin Award for creative dissent.

He also won the Department of State's James Clement Dunn Award for excellence in diplomacy in 2001, and in 2004 he received the Department of State's Heroism Award.

Moreno was promoted into the senior foreign service in 2001 and to the rank of minister-counselor in 2005. He speaks Spanish, French and some Haitian Creole.

Yesterday, the Jamaica Observer was told that Johnson was born in Corn Piece district, Hayes, Clarendon to Noel Johnson and Rezna Mae Ford Miller, who passed away on September 25, 2013 at age 82.

She was raised by her stepfather, Francis Ford, and mother as her father died from cancer when she was five years old.

She attended Hayes Primary , May Pen Junior Secondary and Vere Technical High School for one year before she moved to Toronto, Canada where she completed the remainder of her schooling at Wesley College.

She started her nursing education at Humber College-Osler campus before being recruited to attend nursing school in America.

She is administrative director and chief financial officer of Advanced Family Care Medical Group, which she founded in 1995 and has been a certified nurse midwife and nurse practitioner since 1995.

Johnson was a lecturer and assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1995 to 2000 and was named Honorary Consul for Jamaica in California in 2011.

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