Jamaica will be the buzz of diplomatic activity come Sunday, January 23, through to Friday, January 28, 2011, with the 13th installment of the annual Diplomatic Week, or Dip. Week, as it is affectionately called.
Ambassadors, High Commissioners and other heads of Missions, staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and their guests will commence the highly anticipated week with a 9:30 a.m. church service at the University of the West Indies’ Mona Chapel.
From Monday to Thursday, the diplomats will converge on the corporate area, at Jamaica House, King’s House, the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade’s (MFAFT’s) Dominica Drive headquarters.
During this time, the Prime Minister; the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and other Cabinet Ministers, as well as representatives from JAMPRO and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) will make presentations to the 51 resident and non-resident Ambassadors, High Commissioners and other Heads of Mission.
On Friday, they’ll be off to the much anticipated excursion, to Prospect Plantation, St. Ann.
As Ambassador Evadne Coye, Permanent Secretary of Jamaica’s Foreign Ministry explains; "Our non-resident Ambassadors and High Commissioners in particular, always look forward to Diplomatic Week. They are given the opportunity for substantive briefing which on their own they would not have been able to organize in such a short time frame."
Dip. Week was the initiative of the then Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Hon. Anthony Hylton and the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Ambassador Coye, who was then Principal Director of what is now the Bilateral and Regional Affairs Division.
Ambassador Coye also indicates that Diplomatic Week was developed as an opportunity for diplomats, especially the non-residents, to have a full slate of official briefings from the Honourable Prime Minister, selected Cabinet Ministers and the Foreign Ministry on government policy, development challenges and outreach to friendly countries.
"The week was also created as an opportunity for the diplomats to meet with representatives from the private sector; attend the annual diplomatic banquet hosted by the Governor General and enjoy Jamaican tourism," she explains.
Additionally, Dip. Week has been used to recognize the work of the Diplomatic Corps.
On Monday, January 24, seven new non-resident Heads of Missions, accredited to Jamaica, will be presenting their Credence, Introduction and Copy Letters. They are: HE Inci Tumay (Turkey); HE Claes Hammar, (Sweden); HE Mrs. Marina Perovic Petrovic (Republic of Serbia); High Commissioner Andrew Needs (New Zealand); HE Daniel Antonio(Mozambique); HE Raymond Bassett (Ireland) and HE Mrs. Susanne Rumohr Haekkerup (Denmark).
Six Ambassadors from non-Commonwealth countries will present their Copy Letters to the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Baugh. They will then proceed to the Governor General’s residence, where they’ll present Letters of Credence to HE Sir Patrick Allen. In the meantime, the New Zealand High Commissioner Designate, Andrew Needs, will present his Letter of Introduction to the Hon. Prime Minister.
That evening, the diplomats will make good on the opportunity to relax and lyme in the gardens of the Jamaica House at the "Jamaica Night" welcome reception, hosted by Hon. Dr. Baugh.
An important highlight of the week will be the Diplomatic Dinner hosted by Their Excellencies, the Governor General and Lady Allen, at their King’s House residence. This is an event, also filled with pageantry, in which Their Excellencies express appreciation to the Diplomatic Corps for their work in continuing the friendly and cooperative relations between Jamaica and the sending countries.
With the buzz of excitement surrounding Diplomatic Week, one can only accept Ambassador Coye’s insistence that; "Diplomats have acclaimed the Jamaican experience of Diplomatic Week as not only worthwhile and valuable, but one which they wish their own countries would replicate."
Issued by: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade