Jamaica will forge ahead with strengthening its linkages across the world by using its strategic foreign policy to further advance national development goals. As the country looks beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and tackles its socio-economic impact, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will leverage Jamaica’s strong relationship with global partners to support the recovery and sustain the positive trajectory for growth and development.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith said that, “the continued implementation of the country’s foreign policy is vital, particularly so in the midst of the many social and economic challenges that have attended the global pandemic”. She underscored the importance of leveraging the support of international partners to increase the country’s resilience and to “build back better”.
In reference to the Ministry’s overseas representation, the Minister stated that “Although the pandemic has given rise to some adjustments to our rotation schedule, it is my pleasure to announce the appointments of three of our long serving career Foreign Service Officers. They are being assigned new diplomatic responsibilities with opportunities to contribute to our strengthened engagement with important bilateral and diaspora partners. They are not only eager to take up their new assignments, but are already excellently prepared.”
The Minister announced the following appointments:
Miss Shorna-Kay Richards – Ambassador-designate to Japan
A career diplomat, Miss Richards has been a member of the Foreign Service for over 25 years and is presently the Director of the Bilateral Relations Department in the Ministry. She was previously assigned as Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations, New York and also served at the Jamaican Embassy and the Permanent Mission to the OAS in Washington, DC as well as at Jamaican High Commission in Pretoria.
With vast expertise in bilateral and multilateral affairs, the foreign service veteran has supported efforts to secure increased access to official development assistance, technical cooperation, human resource development, and trade and investment opportunities.
At the multilateral level, she has worked extensively in the field of international security and disarmament, having served as Vice-Chair of the UN Disarmament Commission and was also a facilitator for the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations. She has served as lead negotiator in the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty process and was also actively engaged in negotiations on oceans and the law of the sea.
Miss Richards holds a Master’s degree in International Policy and Practice from the Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University, USA. She also obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the West Indies and is a past student of the Bishop Gibson and Hampton High Schools for girls.
The Ambassador-designate is expected to assume duties in September 2020. Her jurisdiction will include several other countries in Asia.
Ambassador Sharon Miller – High Commissioner-designate to Canada
With a career spanning over three and a half decades in the Jamaican Foreign Service, Ambassador Miller has garnered a wealth of experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. She was appointed in 2018 as Ambassador of Jamaica to the Federative Republic of Brazil, with accreditation to four other South American countries.
Ambassador Miller held the post of Director in the Economic Affairs Department of the Ministry immediately prior to her assumption of duties in Brasilia. In previous overseas assignments, she served as Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington D.C. and Deputy High Commissioner at the Jamaican High Commission in Ottawa.
This accomplished diplomat has also carried out representational duties for Jamaica in multiple regional and international fora, including the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC) and more recently served as Head of Delegation at the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation in 2019.
Ambassador Miller holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration and has undertaken graduate work in development studies.
The High Commissioner-designate is expected to assume duty in Ottawa in September 2020.
Mr Lincoln Downer – Consul General to Toronto
Mr Downer, a career diplomat, has been a member of the Foreign Service for 25 years. He has served in various capacities overseas and locally, including Assistant Director in the then Diaspora and Consular Affairs Department from 2005-2008 and again from 2013-2017. He was subsequently appointed as Director in the Diaspora Affairs Department in 2017.
He has a proven track record in areas such as Strategic Diaspora Engagement, Consular Diplomacy, Foreign Service Management, Citizenship and Immigration Policy. The diaspora veteran has contributed to and written literature about the “Role of Diasporas in Development Policy” and “Comparative Analysis of the Jamaica and Kenya Diaspora Policies.” He also counts communication, human resource development and strategic planning for organizational development among his many areas of expertise.
Mr. Downer holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in International Relations from The University of the West Indies and has received a wide array of professional training in consular and diaspora diplomacy.
The new Consul General is expected to assume duty in Toronto in August 2020.
In making the announcements, Minister Johnson Smith expressed confidence that these foreign service experts will represent Jamaica with distinction. “They are all consummate professionals, with broad experience in their respective areas, and will help drive an effective and strategic foreign policy in support of Jamaica’s economic recovery and growth beyond COVID-19.”