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Tufton questions ambassadors recall

Published:Monday | April 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

THE TERMINATION of the tenure of some Jamaican heads of missions before their tour of duty has been completed has Opposition Senator Dr Christopher Tufton seeking answers from the Government.

He sought answers via A.J. Nicholson, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, who is also leader of government business in the Upper House.

In questions tabled in the Senate, Tufton asked the Government how many heads of missions have been recalled from their posts over the last five months.

Tufton, the former minister of agriculture and, industry, investment and commerce in the last Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration, told The Gleaner that his questions came against the background of the recall of High Commissioner Anthony Johnson from the United Kingdom (UK) and Ambassador Audrey Marks from the United States of America (USA).

Tour of duty

According to him, the JLP administration kept High Commissioner Burchell Whiteman for two years until his tour of duty was completed in the UK.

Whiteman was a former general secretary of the ruling People's National Party, and also minister of education.

"I also feel that Ambassador (Audrey) Marks in the US was doing a good job as well," he said.

Principal of the Norman Manley Law School, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, is to replace Marks and Aloun Assamba, former tourism minister in the P.J. Patterson administration, replaced Johnson.

Citing possible fallout for Jamaica 50 celebrations overseas, Tufton asked for an explanation as to possible fallout for planned activities. Other answers being sought include, how many among those who were recalled had not completed their contract and how much time remained in the contracts or tour of duty of those coming home.

The opposition senator said he wants the minister to give policy reasons for recalling the heads of missions before the expiration of their contracts, as well as the reasons from recalling them.