Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Diplomatic Corps says farewell to US Ambassador

Published:Friday | June 16, 2017 | 6:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Can you feel the love? United States Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno is about to bump fists with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith.
Dr Omar Hawthorne of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, radiating elegance in fashionable red and black.
Opposition Spokespman on National Security Peter Bunting time with Shauna-Kaye Richards, director of bilateral relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
Minister of Security Robert ‘Bobby’ Montague (left) catching up with the man of the hour, United States Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno.
Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica Masanori Nakano (left) having a chat with Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy Eric Khant.
Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, José Tomas Ares German (right), presents a token of appreciation to US Ambassador Moreno.
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It's really difficult to say goodbye. That was the sentiment expressed at the farewell ceremony for United States (US) Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno.

The event, hosted by the dean of the Diplomatic Corps, JosÈ Tomas Ares German, saw diplomats, politicians and members of corporate Jamaica making their way to The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston to celebrate the legacy of the ambassador.

In his address, German explained that it felt like yesterday that Moreno arrived. He noted that his duty of saying goodbye to a good colleague and friend was hard. Moreno, he said, left his mark with his openness towards change, demonstrating what a great person he was every step of the way during his tenure in Jamaica. He wished the US ambassador and his wife good health and prosperity, and later presented him with a token of appreciation on behalf of the diplomatic corps.

 

Leaving by choice

 

Moreno, in his address, agreed that it is was tough to say goodbye to a nation so warm and friendly. "When I first realised I was going to leave, I decided that I didn't want to be pushed out of the country. So, I would leave by choice, picking June 30," he said. He noted that when he first arrived in December 2014, he was welcomed at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel - the warmest and most sincere he had ever received. Now that he is leaving, everyone was back at The Pegasus to bid him farewell in the same warm and genuine way. He joked that he could see himself, when he is older, walking the halls of the hotel in his sleep. This elicited laughter from the gathering.

He noted that as an ambassador, even though every three years is a new adventure - meeting new people and making new contacts - the job can bring out a real sense of sadness. He thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade for running a professional, competent, well-briefed organisation. He also spoke about strengthening the Jamaica Defence Force and the work they have done together against corruption.

Moreno also thanked his hard-working staff, who, with him, created history in having the first black US president, Barack Obama, visit Jamaica. He thanked the country for welcoming him with open arms, noting, "No matter what happens, the ties between Jamaica and America are very solid and will prosper."

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com