The Jamaican Embassy in Washington DC last week bid farewell to two staff members who have served the mission for more than half the number of years since diplomatic relations were established with the United States there. is 60 years old.
Cornel Graver, the mission driver, served the embassy for 34 years, while Shereen James Phillpotts, the office assistant/chief, served for 15 years.
During the farewell ceremony at the embassy, Graver, a former JUTA driver from Mount Salem in Montego Bay, said he was honored to have served his country at this level and, being the longest serving member of the staff, he has seen the huge improvements made over the years, noting that he served nine ambassadors during his tenure.
For her part, Phillpotts, originally from Mandeville, said working at the embassy was a great experience for her and gave her the opportunity to serve various ambassadors and represent Jamaica at the annual chef’s kitchen. embassy among all the embassies in Washington, and in which it has always been placed 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 organize 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.
Paying tribute, Ambassador Audrey Marks said it was with mixed feelings as she bid farewell to Graver, who she described as an “institution” at the embassy. , 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 welfare.
In her tribute to Phillpots, she spoke of her commitment to work and her excellent cooking skills, and how she has, over the years, supported the many receptions hosted by the Embassy. She noted that Phillpotts was constantly improving her skills and commended her for the support she provided to the consulate service and for interfacing with the public and members of the Diaspora at the reception.
The Ambassador said she was pleased with the way Phillpotts represented Jamaica as Embassy Chief in the annual Embassy Chiefs Challenge, where, of the 188 participating countries, Jamaica has always been in the first five.
In her tribute, the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT), Ambassador Sheila Sealy Monteith, thanked Graver for her years of service, noting that “the diligence, dedication and commitment you have consistently demonstrated on a daily basis the execution of your duties have been integral to the success of the work of the Embassy. As a driver/messenger, you played an essential role in ensuring the smooth running and efficiency of the mission. We certainly appreciate your input,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary thanked Phillpotts for his 15 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 an essential role in ensuring the smooth running of the mission. We certainly appreciate your input,” she said.
Tributes were also paid by Franz Hall, Acting Undersecretary, Diaspora, Protocol and Consular Affairs Division, MFAFT; Sharon Miller, High Commissioner of Jamaica in Ottawa; Ambassador A’dale Robinson, Director, Department of Economic Affairs, MFAFT; Nicolette Williams, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy; and Deon Williams, Jamaica’s Alternate Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).