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New Jamaican Ambassador to OAS presents credentials in Washington

WASHINGTON, DC – Ambassador Anthony Johnson, in presented credentials on Thursday, March 20 as Jamaica’s new Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, pledged that during his tenure he would ensure his country continue to play an important role in the hemispheric body.

In delivering his accreditation letters to Secretary General José Miguel Insulza during a brief ceremony at the Organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., Ambassador Johnson underscored Jamaica’s continued commitment to the principles of the OAS charter and to the organization’s essential purposes—the promotion of democracy and human rights; the maintenance of peace and security; and the promotion of economic development to eradicate extreme poverty.

Johnson, who is also Jamaica’s envoy to the United States, gave a brief overview of his government’s emphasis on promoting economic development based tourism, agriculture, mining and energy, among others. He noted as well that the importance Jamaica attaches to its hemispheric and international commitments was also most recently highlighted in the participation of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs earlier this week in the OAS Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, to deal with the Colombia-Ecuador situation.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS), Anthony Johnson (left), presenting Letters of Credence to OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, during a ceremony at the Organization’s Washington DC headquarters, on March 20.

Ambassador Johnson also thanked the OAS for its engagement and collaboration with Jamaica over years, including through the electoral observation team—led by Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin—that monitored the general elections on the island last September.

Secretary General Insulza welcomed the new Permanent Representative, lauding Jamaica for its tradition of providing leadership at the regional and sub-regional levels, an element that is always important to the activities of the OAS.

The Secretary General expressed confidence that Jamaica would “continue to lead the way in our organization for better understanding, peace and cooperation among our countries.” He reiterated the OAS’ priorities, citing the focus on helping to address the major issues affecting the hemisphere’s citizens—poverty, crime and security and drug trafficking, among them. Insulza noted how these issues are interconnected, citing the difficulty for democracies to be stable “if they have problems of security and poverty.”

The new ambassador replaces Prof. Gordon Shirley, who demitted office last September. Priority to his current assignments in Washington, Johnson was senior lecturer in the Department of Management Studies at the University of the West Indies; Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture; and Minority Leader of the Senate. He had also served during the 1980s as a Member of Parliament as held portfolios respectively as junior minister of agriculture, education and industry and commerce. He is married and has four children.

Among those attending the ceremony were Jamaica’s Alternate Representative to the OAS, Ann Scott; Dean of the OAS diplomatic corps, Ambassador Denis Antoine of Grenada; newly appointed US Ambassador to the OAS Hector Morales; and Assistant Secretary General Ramdin.

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