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Johnson Smith lauds Ambassador Patricia Durrant

Published:Thursday | December 5, 2019 | 3:44 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

The late Jamaican diplomat Ambassador Patricia Durrant has been hailed as an outstanding woman, whose contribution to the foreign service has been outstanding.

Durrant, who served in various capacities during the time in the service, died last week Tuesday after a short bout with illness.

She was ambassador to Germany and director general in the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and as president of United Nations Security Council highlighted the effect of war on women and children.

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson Smith praised Durrant for the work she did while in the service and offered condolences to the family on behalf of the ministry.

“We are saddened by the passing of Ambassador Durrant and we honour the outstanding contribution made by her, not only to the Jamaican Foreign Service but also to the international community. We extend our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Ambassador Durrant,” Johnson Smith said.

Also, Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Lisa Hanna described the late ambassador as a “trailblazing woman of substance”.

Having joined the Foreign Service in 1971, Ambassador Durrant was assigned to the permanent mission of Jamaica to the United Nations in New York at the level of deputy permanent representative from 1983 to 1987.

She was subsequently posted as Jamaica’s ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany from 1987 to 1992.

Ambassador Durrant returned to the ministry’s headquarters in 1992 and was appointed to the post of director general, Foreign Service Operations, and served in this capacity until 1995 when she returned to the Mission in New York as Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

During her tenure she served concurrently as permanent representative to the United Nations Security Council from 2000 to 2001 when Jamaica was a sitting member of that body.

In April 2002, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed Ambassador Durrant as the UN Ombudsman in the rank of Assistant Secretary General. She was the first to hold this position from 2002 until 2007.

She retired from the service in 2007 but continued to maintain strong relations with current and former members of the service.