11 May AMBASSADOR AUDREY P. MARKS – CONFIRMED SPEAKER AND AWARD RECIPIENT – QUEENS GOP SPRING GALA SHOW POOR JUDGMENT AND INSENSITIVITY TO THE JAMAICAN DIASPORA
The Opposition PNP views with alarm and concern reports coming out of the United States that the Jamaican Ambassador H.E. Audrey Marks will be on the programme of speakers at the Republican Party’s Annual Spring Gala on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.
The Party is concerned that the position of a diplomat is being blurred and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has given consent to her role at this political affair.
We are mindful that an Ambassador is the highest diplomat representing a state in a foreign country and there are established protocols which must be observed and maintained. We note, too, that there is an existing convention where foreign dignitaries are invited to political party meetings as observers and if they attend, they stick to this role.
We have been advised by the News Release that the Ambassador will be recognized for her bold leadership; with that we agree as she has been an outstanding entrepreneur here in Jamaica but it is our view that she should have done the correct thing and either excuse herself or accept the award outside of this party political event.
We note also that “Ambassador Marks will deliver remarks during the evening’s programme about the interest of the Jamaican Government in working with the Trump administration to further strengthen and deepen the historical ties that exist between the United States and Jamaica”. This was already relayed to the President at the White House during her courtesy call.
The GOP event, we submit, is not the forum for doing this sort of presentation as the Ambassador represents the state and not a political party. We run the risk of Jamaica going back to the recent dark days of diplomacy when the Jamaican state was hijacked by the party for political expediency.
Whilst we recognize that Ambassador Marks is not a career diplomat but a political appointee, we wish to remind her that she is not on a frolic of her own and ought to represent the finest traditions of diplomatic engagement and aplomb which this country cherished in the diplomatic community.
Importantly too, Ambassador Marks’ actions are highly insensitive to the Jamaican Diaspora, some of whom may not support that or any other political party. Regrettably, such partisan political pandering by an Ambassador may do unintended damage to Jamaica’s Diplomacy, which has nurtured a strong and principled relationship with the United States of America and not any single political party.
It is a well-established principle that Ambassadors ought not to interfere in the domestic affairs of host nations.
We, therefore, call on government to advise if this is the new diplomatic engagement policy, correct this situation immediately; and put measures in place to protect the diplomatic image of our country.