Thu | Jan 27, 2022

Not sold on old, cold Nicholson

Published:Monday | July 27, 2015 | 2:30 PM


What will it take for septuagenarian senator A.J. Nicholson to be sent packing from Jamaica's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade? He has been allowed to just run the ministry as if it is his personal fiefdom, the only place where his irrationality may find comfort.

The most notable of his embarrassing blunders and age-suggesting missteps include that abhorrent flexi-rape comment, the abominable response to the media over the Jamaican incarcerated in Qatar, and from the latest reports, his relationship with former ambassador to the US, Professor Stephen Vasciannie. I can't imagine the ones that took place outside the public's glare.

Is Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller paying attention to these things? If a US secretary of state, a British foreign secretary, or an Australian foreign minister came close to doing any of the above, especially the first two, they would have gone sooner than they could realise it. But A.J. Nicholson continues, unrepen-tant, if not emboldened.

If my arguments appear ad hominem, ask yourself, what has Nicholson accomplished in any significant way since his unwelcome appointment in 2012? What major trade deals, what new frontiers, has he led Jamaica to conquer? How has he sought to articulate a 21st-century Jamaican foreign policy?

pragmatic policy

With the rise of the East, in competition with the West, how has Nicholson sought to anchor Jamaica? A sturdy and pragmatic policy that caters to, and maximises, the current intensification of the globalisation process is required. I do not see any evidence suggesting Jamaica is aggressively seeking to take advantage of this. If Jamaica has done so, under Nicholson's leadership, the public does not know! Certainly, Simpson Miller cannot be satisfied.

When Obama took office in 2009, he made clear his intention to do so by declaring himself "America's first pacific president". Can the man on the street, even the academic at UWI, UTech or NCU easily identify Jamaica's foreign-policy direction?

Nicholson ought to be relieved of the post! If anything, diplomacy, on many levels, clearly is not his forte. And I'm sure he needs his rest.