Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Tapia confirmed as new US ambassador to Ja

Published:Friday | July 19, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Just over two years after the departure of Luis Moreno, Jamaica should finally have a new American ambassador in weeks after the United States (US) Senate yesterday voted to confirm the nomination of Arizona businessman Donald Ray Tapia to the post.

Tapia, who will become ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Jamaica, was confirmed by a vote of 66-26.

The White House is to be notified of the Senate’s decision.

The Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee had previously recommended that Tapia, 81, be confirmed to the post.

Jamaica has been without a top US diplomat since Moreno’s departure in July 2017.

Tapia’s nomination was referred to the foreign committee after it was submitted to the Senate by President Donald Trump on January 16.

Trump had resubmitted Tapia’s nomination after it was sent back to the White House on January 3, 2019, after the Senate adjourned in December 2018 without making a decision.

Tapia was nominated by Trump last May and appeared before the committee that July, where, among other things, he pledged that he would focus much of his attention on Jamaica’s energy sector if he is named to the post.


Meet Donald Ray Tapia 

•  Tapia earned a BA and an MBA from Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida.

• Tapia was the chairman and CEO of Essco Group Management, the largest Hispanic-owned business in Arizona for more than three decades before retiring in 2010 to devote his time to philanthropy. 

• He has served on the boards of social service organisations such as the Boys & Girls’ Club of Metropolitan Phoenix, Teen LifeLine Phoenix, the Advisory Council of the Arizona Animal Welfare League, and the Advisory Board for Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix Arizona.

• Tapia is a veteran, having served in the US Air Force, honourably discharged (1955-1959). 

• He also worked as an air traffic controller for the Federal Aviation Administration in Cleveland and Cincinnati.