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Jamaica's Ambassador Sets the Record Straight

During my absence from the office over the past week, on urgent personal matters, I

was bombarded with queries in relation to media reports regarding a United States

Government diplomatic policy request of the Jamaican Government.

Both the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, as well as the United States

State Department, have already responded to the erroneous nature of a Radio Jamaica

report which was subsequently picked up and carried by various news organizations

and social media platforms. This report is now being used as a basis for various

individuals with their own agendas to continue promulgating false information.

Therefore, let me use this opportunity to reiterate the facts of this matter. The United

States has requested that countries recognize diplomatic spouses in same-sex

marriages, a condition which has been legal in the United States over the past eight (8)

years. Based on this policy, a request was received by the Jamaican Embassy [on 20th

June 2023] for Jamaica to extend privileges and immunities to all spouses, irrespective

of gender, of accredited personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica. As is

customary, this request was forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign

Trade and the recommended response, in keeping with Jamaican laws, was made and

sent in a timely manner [by 5th July 2023], to the U.S. Department of State.

The report of Jamaica receiving this request earlier this year, which was ignored, and

thereafter, a second demand was made is totally incorrect.

Additionally, at no time was a request made by the United States Department of State to

have Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States removed or to leave the USA

immediately; before the end of the year; or immediately upon the expiration of her

diplomatic visa.

As Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, I shall return home to Jamaica at the

appropriate time in keeping with my contract or at the behest of my government.


The USA implemented a new policy in August 2019, which came into effect in August

2021, where diplomats from all worldwide bilateral missions to the USA will be

accredited for a maximum of five years and are expected to depart the USA thereafter. 

This policy does not apply to the Ambassador (Chief of Mission), the Chargé d'Affaires,

or the Deputy Chief of Mission. Over the past two years, we have requested a few

extensions, and some were denied. The fact is that the USA gave two year's notice of

this policy change, and many persons who were or will be affected have been here for

well over five years.

Such long-term stays in the U.S. were never the intent of these work visas when they

were issued, so this policy is an effort by the USA to return to the diplomatic

accreditations; original intent. As a government, we agree and respect this policy



Let me also use this opportunity to advise that Jamaica’s leaders have not been

snubbed in any way, shape, or form by the United States. Over the past year, Prime

Minister Andrew Holness and Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith have

engaged in several high-level, in-person bilateral and multilateral meetings with USA

officials, including President Biden, Vice-President Harris, Secretary of State Blinken,

the Secretary of Treasury Yellen, and other members of the Cabinet, leaders of the

Senate, leaders in the House of Representatives, and other senior officials. These are

all ongoing engagements.


As we commemorate 61 years of a strong diplomatic relationship with the USA, I recall

the words of William Clay, “This is quite a game, politics. There are no permanent

enemies; and no permanent friends, only permanent interests.”  In this instance,

however, Minister Johnson Smith has shared with you the exact position shared by our

friends at the US Embassy last week, that not only our shared interests but also our

friendship as allies with the USA in the constant struggle for global peace, democracy,

human rights, and the rule of law remains strong and steady.

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