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Vasciannie hails Obama for 'calm, progressive, sophisticated' leadership

Published:Friday | January 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Stephen Vasciannie
President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final presidential news conference yesterday.

Professor Stephen Vasciannie, who served as Jamaica's ambassador in Washington during the latter years of Barack Obama's presidency, is hailing the now ex-leader for his "calm, progressive and sophisticated" leadership.

"The Obama administration represented the diversity of the United States of America in both its personnel and policies," Vasciannie told The Gleaner. "Obama's own elevation to the presidency was a source of unqualified pride and elation to me personally, and, undoubtedly, for many Jamaicans, a symbol of collective triumph over adversity and a beacon of hope shining in the direction of racial equality, reconciliation, and social progress."

Continuing, the former diplomat said: "During my time as ambassador in Washington, I watched a dignified president tackle different streams of tension within the American system calmly, progressively, and with sophistication.

Vasciannie said that the issues, which ranged from the contentious health-care reforms, the economic stimulus, opening up to Cuba, to terrorism and gun control, "were almost limitless, but, with his team which looked like America, he pressed on.

"I was delighted to be Jamaica's ambassador to the USA when President Obama visited Jamaica. Among other things, his visit cemented long-standing and extensive relations between both countries and provided the basis for further cooperation and progress for Jamaica."

Professor Stephen Vasciannie served from July 2012 to July 2015.