Musical staff

Jamaican Embassy in Washington bids farewell to long-serving staff members

by Derrick Scott

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – The Jamaican Embassy in Washington, D.C. last week bid farewell to two staff members who have served the mission for more than half the number of years since the establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States sixty years ago.

Mr. Cornel Graver, the Mission Driver, served the Embassy for thirty-four years, while Mrs. Shereen James Phillpotts, the Office Assistant/Chief, served for fifteen years.

Cornel Burn

During the farewell ceremony at the Embassy, ​​Mr. Graver, a former JUTA driver from Mount Salem in Montego Bay, said he was honored to have served his country at this level and was the the longest serving member of staff, he has seen the huge improvements made over the years, noting that he served nine ambassadors during his tenure.

Shereen James Philpotts

For her part, Ms Phillpotts, originally from Mandeville, said working at the embassy was a great experience for her. As a result, this gave him the opportunity to serve various ambassadors and represent Jamaica. Especially in the annual Heads of Embassy competition among all the embassies in Washington, and in which she has always been ranked in the top five.

She thanked the Embassy for giving her the experience of regularly interacting with and assisting Jamaicans in the Diaspora, as well as helping Jamaica host the annual OAS Food Festival, which gives the public a chance to experience the rich diversity of food, music and dance. countries of the hemisphere.

Tribute to Brave

Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, presents a token of appreciation to Mr. Cornel Graver for his 34 years of service to the mission. Sharing the occasion are from left, his daughter Gentry Graver, Mrs. Dotty Graver and Mrs. Nicolette Williams, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Jamaican Embassy. (Photo: Derrick Scott)

Paying tribute to him, Ambassador Audrey Marks said it was with mixed feelings as she bid farewell to Mr Graver whom she described as an institution at the Embassy.

“Today we are not saying goodbye, we are celebrating you, Mr. Graver, and all you have done for the Embassy and for Jamaica. Your 34 years of service are a lifetime, and today we celebrate your service.

She described his tenure at the embassy as one of building relationships at all levels, so much so that long after they left, those he interacted with continued to ask questions about his well-being.

Tribute to Philpotts
Jamaican Embassy in Washington - Wolde Phillpotts, Shereen James Phillpotts, Audrey Marks

Jamaican Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks (R) presents a token of appreciation to Mrs. Shereen James Phillpotts. Her husband, Mr. Wolde Phillpotts, shares the occasion – (Photo: Derrick Scott)

In her tribute to Ms Phillpotts, she spoke of her commitment to the work. In addition to his excellent cooking skills. Plus, how she has over the years supported the many functions hosted by the Embassy. She noted that Ms. Phillpotts was constantly improving her skills and commended her for the support she provided to the Consulate service and the interface with the public and members of the Diaspora at the reception.

The Ambassador said she was delighted with the way Ms Phillpotts represented Jamaica as Head of Embassy at the annual Embassy Chefs Challengewhere out of the 188 participating countries, Jamaica has consistently been among the top five.

Last goodbyes

In her tribute, the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Sheila Sealy Monteith thanked Mr. Graver for his years of service noting that “the diligence, dedication and commitment you have consistently shown in the he day-to-day performance of your duties has been integral to the success of the work of the Embassy. As a driver/messenger, you have played an essential role in ensuring the smooth running and efficiency of the mission. We certainly appreciate your contribution,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary thanked Ms. Phillpotts for her fifteen years of service to the Jamaican government.

“Thank you for the diligence, dedication and commitment you have consistently demonstrated in the day-to-day performance of your duties. As an office attendant, you played a vital role in ensuring the smooth running of the mission. We certainly appreciate your input,” she said.

Tributes were also paid by Mr. Franz Hall, Acting Undersecretary, Division of Diaspora, Protocol and Consular Affairs MFAFT; Ms. Sharon Miller, High Commissioner of Jamaica in Ottawa; Ambassador A’dale Robinson, Director, Department of Economic Affairs MFAFT; Ms. Nicolette Williams, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy and Mr. Deon Williams, Alternate Representative of Jamaica to the Organization of American States, OAS.