By: Derrick Scott
Washington, DC – Jamaican residing in North East United States has welcomed the appointment of His Excellency Ralph Thomas as Jamaica’s new Ambassador to Washington, DC.
In reacting to the news, 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 market place. ‘Known to and first hand knowledge of’ will serve him well in moving well in achieving 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.’”
Patrick A Beckford, New Jersey, welcomes the announcement with much anticipation. He suggests that the USA is too important of a country for Jamaica not to have this position filled. The longstanding relationship with the USA in commerce, trade and diplomacy makes this appointment critical for the country and our Diaspora, where more than half of our Countrymen now call home.
“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.
“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,” Mr. Beckford said.
Tracy Tomlinson-Dixon, Alternate Advisory Board Member Jamaica Diaspora NE USA said she is encouraged by a new appointment of an Ambassador. 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 speak volume; an he is an intellectually and professionally rounded individual with International experience,” Tomlinson-Dixon said.
She hopes that he will be able to engage the populace – his constituency without compromise, and is hopeful that he will be more visible, which “I am sorry to say his predecessor was not.”
President of the Caribbean Trade Council Andrew Lawrence said he’s confident that Ambassador Thomas will bring to his new post the same energies he displays in the areas of economic development as Ambassador to China.
Mr. Lawrence pledges the support of the Jamaicans community in Connecticut in assisting the Ambassador to successfully discharge his responsibilities, as he is well aware that he will have to “hit the ground running.”
Ambassador Thomas is expected to assume duties as Jamaica’s envoy to the United States in early September. He will replace former Ambassador Stephen Vasciannie whose tour of duties ended in June.