Sat | Nov 28, 2020

US Ambassador Tapia says sorry for controversial tweets

Published:Thursday | October 29, 2020 | 12:47 PM
Donald Tapia, United States Ambassador to Jamaica (file photo)

United States (US) Ambassador Donald Tapia has apologised for controversial tweets made from his official Twitter account on Tuesday.

Tapia found himself in a Twitter storm that saw Jamaica's Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson Smith commenting publicly, taking issue with the posts.

"I spoke with the ambassador [and] he is aware that the engagement was not appropriate for a diplomatic representative. He assured me that it will not recur," said Johnson Smith on her official Twitter account.

However, Tapia said the tweets weren't made by him.

"I take full responsibility for what took place. I believe the individual will be leaving shortly, because it was inappropriate ... I don't know what was actually tweeted out, I have not looked at it," he said on Nationwide News Network.

He added: "To the people that were involved on Twitter, I have to apologise to them, very deeply ... I've always said that I'm here as your guest and guests don't talk or act in that matter. I stand by that today as I did the day that I arrived here."

The US government, including President Donald Trump, remains suspicious of Chinese technology, citing national security risks as its main talking points.

Tapia has repeatedly spoken of his unease and has even warned the Jamaican Government of (hidden) Chinese intent in the affairs of the country.

However, in this latest volley of tweets, the ambassador said that Chinese technology company Huawei "has a history of spying and supporting authoritarian regimes".

When one Twitter user stated that Tapia should "leave Jamaica's internal affairs alone" and that he was "being a bully",  Ambassador Tapia’s Twitter handle hit back: "sell your freedom and you will be like the people of Hong Kong".

The Twitter rant became personal, as insults were traded with other twitter users, accusing them of  smoking "too much ganja" and that they "couldn't have graduated from high school".

The Jamaican Government is mulling over the introduction of 5G mobile technology, with emphasis on the Spectrum Management Authority's recently tabled annual report for 2019/2020, which stated its objectives to prepare Jamaica for 5G services.

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