New British high commissioner ready to roll

Published: Tuesday | December 29, 2009

Howard Drake, a former British ambassador to Chile, starts his new appointment in January in Jamaica. - Contributed

Britain's new high commissioner to Jamaica has pledged to strengthen ties between the two nations.

Howard Drake, a former British ambassador to Chile, starts his new appointment in January and says it will be a "greater honour to be high commissioner in a country like Jamaica which has such long historical links with the UK".

Drake, 53, said on a recent visit to The Voice newspaper in London that he was looking forward to his new role after four years in Chile.

Before taking up his appoint-ment, Drake has been visiting individuals and organisations with strong links to Jamaica to get background information on the country and to hear what are some of the key areas in which the high commission should be engaged.

The British High Commission in St Andrew is the largest British diplomatic mission in the Americas and reflects the importance of Jamaica to Britain.

Strong bonds

"Jamaica is a very important country to the UK for historical reasons and also because of business interests. There are many strong bonds between the two countries," said Drake, who has had a long career in the diplomatic service. "An important part of being high commissioner is also the forging of links between the two countries and this is something that I hope to develop."

He added: "There are also a lot of challenges such as the economy and crime, but whatever we do out in Jamaica, as a high commission will be in partnership with the Jamaican Government."

Drake, who applied for the posting, said on a lighter note that "the sunshine and cricket" were two other things that made the Caribbean nation so appealing to him.

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