JIS News

Thomas “Mack” McLarty, former White House Chief-of-Staff and Special Envoy to Latin America and the Caribbean, has welcomed the appointment of Professor Gordon Shirley as Ambassador to Washington and expressed certainty that the new envoy would build on Jamaica’s tradition of strong international advocacy.
“We are therefore, confident that Ambassador Shirley’s (tour) here will be similarly productive and benefit the Jamaican government and people,” he stated.
Mr. McLarty was speaking at a welcome reception held at his home in Washington for Ambassador Shirley. The function was hosted in collaboration with the Atlanta-based Mirant Corporation, majority owner of the Jamaica Public Service Company.
Mr. McLarty, who is president of Kissinger, McLarty & Associates, a business consulting firm in Washington co-chaired by former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, said that Ambassador Shirley’s tenure in the US capital would serve not only to strengthen Jamaican-U.S. relations, but also facilitate greater economic interchange between both countries.
He further noted that the Ambassador’s appreciation of the role of public-private cooperation, in the pursuit of national development objectives, would encourage greater levels of American private investment in Jamaica.
The former politician also commended the Jamaican government for its “tradition of very talented and effective ambassadors (who have) served in Washington.” He also took the opportunity to applaud Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, for his effectiveness as an international statesman and leader.
“Prime Minister Patterson’s reputation within the international community is well known. He is a man whose skill as a political leader in Jamaica and within the Caribbean region, has served to increase awareness of the important issues on the (CARICOM) agenda,” he said.
For his part, Ambassador Shirley recognized Mr. McLarty, and the Mirant Corporation in particular, for their “consistent engagement with the Jamaican government and (Mirant’s) strong record of corporate citizenship in Jamaica.” He noted that the company, which has an 80 percent stake in JPSCo, had established a record of partnership with the Jamaican government and remained committed to assisting Jamaica in meeting the challenges of competing in an increasingly globalized international marketplace. Turning to Hurricane Ivan, Ambassador Shirley said that despite the fallout from the disaster, “Jamaicans continued to display their characteristic resilience and remained focused on the task of reconstruction and achieving sustainable economic growth.”
Calling the hurricane “a regional natural disaster,” Professor Shirley stressed that a common CARICOM approach was needed to effectively respond to future catastrophes of this nature and called on policymakers and opinion leaders to devise comprehensive strategies to deal with these threats.
Among those who attended the reception were corporate leaders, including top executives at Mirant, US government officials and representatives of the Caribbean diplomatic corps. Republican Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn, who is Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference and the most senior female Republican lawmaker in the US House of Representatives, was at the function.