Some 63 resident and non-resident Ambassadors and High Commissioners and Charge d'Affaires are expected to participate in the 14th annual Diplomatic Week from Sunday (January 29) to Friday (February 3).
Director of Protocol in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ricardo Allicock, told JIS News that plans are well advanced for the week of activities.
"Planning is coming along well. In fact, we are particularly enthused about this year. Among the elements of the programme, which has made it particularly special for us, is the fact that we are expecting the largest contingent of non-resident Heads of Mission to visit Jamaica during Diplomatic Week,” he stated.
“We are expecting some 32 non-resident Heads of Mission to be here and we are happy about that,” he continued.
He informed that during the week, 13 Ambassadors and High Commissioners, who have been newly appointed, will take the opportunity to present their credentials to the Governor-General and Foreign Ministry.
To kick off the week, a Service of Thanksgiving will be held at the University of the West Indies Chapel, Mona, today starting at 9:00 a.m. It will be officiated by Rev. Astor Carlyse from the Webster Memorial United Church in Kingston
Mr. Allicock said that members of the public are invited to attend the service, which will also recognise the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Ministry, formerly Ministry of External Affairs, in 1962, when Jamaica gained its Independence.
“We are making a special effort this year to extend invitations quite broadly. This is not an exclusive affair and we are hoping to have the broad support of the Jamaican society in celebrating this special occasion,” he stated.
Activities continue on Monday Jan. 30 with a cultural evening to showcase Jamaica’s cultural heritage, while on Tuesday (Jan. 31), Prime Minister, the Most. Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and other Cabinet Ministers are expected to address the diplomats at a function scheduled to take place at Jamaica House.
Mr. Allicock said the Ministerial briefings are being held “to raise awareness of Jamaica’s policy regarding economic development and other issues."
The highlight of the week will be the Diplomatic Dinner to take place on Thursday evening (Feb. 2) at King’s House. The event will be hosted by their Excellencies, the Governor-General and Lady Allen to convey their appreciation to the Diplomatic Corps.
The week’s activities will culminate with an excursion to Appleton Estate on Friday (Feb. 3), which will expose the diplomats to aspects of Jamaica’s commercial and economic development.
By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS PRO