US-Jamaicans welcome Ralph Thomas's appointment

Saturday, August 29, 2015

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WASHINGTON, DC -- Jamaicans residing in north-east United States have welcomed the appointment of Ralph Thomas as Jamaica's new ambassador to Washington, DC.


Managing director, Caribbean Immigrant Services, Inc, Irwine Clare, said "the appointment is very opportunistic, especially to harness and leverage the vast wealth of the Diaspora for the benefit of Jamaica. His knowledge of the territory, having lived and worked in the New York area, provides him a thorough understanding and sensitivity of the marketplace. (These) will serve him well in moving to achieve tasks.


"I am confident that he will receive the immediate cooperation of the community. I am earnestly looking forward to working with Ambassador Thomas for the interest of Jamaica, land we love," he said.


Patrick A Beckford from New Jersey suggests that the USA is too important a country for Jamaica not to have had the position filled. The long-standing relationship with the USA in commerce, trade and diplomacy makes this appointment critical for the country and our Diaspora, which more than half of our countrymen now call home, he said.


"It is my hope that Ambassador-designate Thomas will hit the ground running and show community involvement and not think that this is a position that is solely for diplomatic function," Beckford said.


"The Government has articulated the importance of the Diaspora in Jamaica's development and, as such, I personally am looking with hope that he will be more visible and engaging to harness the potential of the Diaspora in a more meaningful and strategic way for mutual benefit to Jamaica and us here in the Diaspora," Beckford continued.


Alternate advisory board member Jamaica Diaspora NE USA Tracy Tomlinson-Dixon said she was encouraged by the appointment as it gives an opportunity to start a new chapter, chart a new course, and embark on a new journey.


"The appointment of Ambassador Ralph Thomas to Washington, DC, speaks volumes, as he is an intellectually and professionally rounded individual with international experience," Tomlinson-Dixon said.


She said further that she hopes he will be able to engage the populace and his constituency without compromise, and will be visible, "which, I am sorry to say his predecessor was not".


For his part, president of the Caribbean Trade Council Andrew Lawrence said he was confident that Ambassador Thomas would bring the same energy he displayed in the area of economic development as Ambassador to China to his new post


He pledged the support of the Jamaican community in Connecticut in assisting the ambassador to successfully discharge his responsibilities.


Thomas is expected to assume duties as Jamaica's envoy to the United States in early September. He replaces Stephen Vasciannie who resigned in June.




-- Derrick Scott



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