New York , USA — Jamaicans across the United States have reacted with delight over President Joe Biden's pick of Jamaican-born N Nick Perry to be the next American ambassador to Kingston.
Biden made the announcement Wednesday at the White House, following a recommendation by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last month to have Perry as the next ambassador to the northern Caribbean island.
From New York, where Perry gained a bachelor of arts degree in political science and has been representing New York's Assembly District 58 for more than two decades to California, there have been only positive responses to the announcement.
Representative for the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council for the West and Midwest United States, Shauna Chin, said she was elated, and described Perry's nomination as “significant”.
“This nomination marks the first time that someone with the requisite understanding of Jamaica's needs has been nominated to be US ambassador to the island. It can only augur well for Jamaica,” Chin said.
Perry's nomination broke with US diplomatic tradition of not naming a country's national as its ambassador, presumably to avoid conflict of interest.
Responding to news of the nomination, Dr Rupert Francis of the Jamaican Men of Florida, gave his wholehearted endorsement of the appointment, adding that he believed Perry would address the issues which are of direct concern to Jamaica and the US.
Francis described Perry as a “manifestation of what the immigrant community can achieve… and the contributions Jamaicans have been making in the United States and elsewhere”.
Sadie Campbell, who heads the Jamaica Progressive League, was equally pleased with Perry's appointment, expressing hope that, if confirmed, he would be able “to articulate the policies of the Biden Administration to the benefit of the two countries”.
But, while welcoming Perry's appointment as “a significant development from a Jamaican perspective”, Diaspora activist Irwine Clare Sr said that Jamaicans would have to understand that “Perry will first of all be an envoy of the United States.”
He suggested that Jamaican expectations will have to be tempered and his representation should be seen through that lens.
Meanwhile, there was euphoria over the announcement of the Kingston College old boy as ambassador to Kingston.
Shirley Morrison, a retired constituent was “elated and proud”, describing the 71-year-old St Andrew-born Perry as a “decent, good and people-oriented person, who has been a great representative for the 58 assembly district”.
Morrison also praised Senator Schumer, who also hails from New York, for recommending Perry for the post.
In the coming days Perry will go through the customary background checks and senate confirmation before he can take up the post of ambassador.
The fourth of five sons in a family of 11 children, Perry completed his secondary education at Kingston College on a full scholarship and worked for the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union before migrating to the US in the summer of 1971.