Thu | Jan 21, 2021

Extremely rewarding - Outgoing ambassador says the EU has had quite an impact over the last four years

Published:Wednesday | July 29, 2020 | 12:25 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Parliamentary Reporter
Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska.
Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska.

After four years of an arduous but fulfilling tour of duty, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, the outgoing European Union (EU) head of delegation to Jamaica, has described her posting as “fantastic”.

“We have been extremely lucky to have enjoyed fantastic cooperation. We have all had hiccups along the way, it wouldn’t be life if we didn’t have them, but it has been an extremely rewarding, fantastic posting, and I will be very sad to go,” the EU top diplomat to the region told The Gleaner at her residence in Jacks Hill, St Andrew.

“I think we have made quite an impact over the four years,” she said, praising her team and the media for helping to highlight the EU’s programmes and initiatives to the wider public.

Wasilewska also acknowledged the work done by her predecessor, Paola Amadei, noting that she was able to continue the EU’s programmes with confidence as a solid foundation had been established.

“Our ambition was to explain a little bit better to a wider public, in simple words, what is it that European assistance does here and how it touches on people’s lives.”

Pleased

Reflecting on some memorable moments in Jamaica, the EU ambassador said she felt pleased that she had made an impact on the lives of persons who expressed gratitude for the assistance.

“For me, always, the most important thing is if I meet a person who is touched by what we do and who feels the impact of our work,” she said. She expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the EU’s Poverty Reduction Programme, sharing how it has touched the lives of many inner-city residents who through very little amount of money were able to have a livelihood.

Wasilewska explained that she met a man who lived in the inner city and had no source of income. However, she noted that through assistance from the EU, he started rearing ornamental fish in his backyard and earned enough money off which to live. “Those are moments that, to me, are incredible,” she added.

The opening of the expanded Court of Appeal building on King Street in downtown Kingston has gone down as one of the memorable events for the diplomat. The EU funded the infrastructure project, comprising 13 judges’ chambers, three new courtrooms and two lounges, among other facilities, in the sum of $J846 million.

“We have made such an impact on the justice sector and the ambition is to make justice available for all. We have delivered huge amounts in terms of infrastructure, and now the audiovisual equipment to the courts,” she shared.

She also spoke of the EU’s work with HIV-infected women, the local family court, the high-dependency units in hospitals, and her interactions with civil-society organisations.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com