US Embassy's bittersweet cocktail reception
There were hugs all around last Thursday night (August 25), as the United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Luis G. Moreno opened the doors of his home to more than 100 guests to bid farewell to his Consul General, Michael Schimmel and welcome his new Deputy Chief of Mission Eric Khant and Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Maura Barry Boyle.
With warm greetings from the ambassador, diplomats, government officials and well wishers were prepared to indulged in a light-hearted night of goodbyes and welcomes. Though it was a bittersweet night, Moreno gave a high kick to the evening's proceeding with his hearty but humorous speech.
"It doesn't get any easier," he said. "We have said goodbye over six times. With 29 years of government service, Michael has been exceptional. I get emotional because Michael and his wife, Susan, are my good friends, we are going to miss you a lot," Moreno expressed.
'JAMES BOND' EFFECT
He went on to introduce Khant and Boyle, sharing how he met them and his joy to have them serving in Jamaica with him. He also spoke of a letter of instructions he received from President Barack Obama that he described had a 'James Bond' effect. It explained his duties as an ambassador, and emphasised that his first commitment is to protect American citizens.
Schimmel, who is now retired, said goodbye to the Jamaican people (whom he refers to as his 'homies') shared some humorous moments with the guests stating, "I sold my last suit on eBay." He continued, "This has been a wonderful adventure and I am privileged to have served here. I am going to miss so much about Jamaica. When I pull up to a stoplight, there will be no banana man," Schimmel shared.
Signalling the end to the formalities, Khant and Boyle promised not to take their positions for granted and expressed their delight in coming to work in Jamaica.