Washington DC., March 7, 2022 - Jamaica’s embassy in Washington DC last week bid farewell to two members of staff who served the mission for more than half the number of years since the establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States sixty years ago.
Mr. Cornel Graver, chauffeur to the mission, served the embassy for thirty four years, while Mrs Shereen James Phillpotts, the office assistant/chef, served for fifteen years.
At the function to say farewell at the Embassy, Mr. Graver, a former JUTA driver who hails from Mount Salem in Montego Bay, said he was honoured to have served his country at this level and being the longest member of staff, he has seen the tremendous improvements made over the years, pointing out that he has served nine ambassadors during his tenure.
For her part, Mrs. Phillpotts, who hails from Mandeville, said working at the Embassy was a great experience for her which gave her the opportunity to serve various Ambassadors and represent Jamaica at the annual embassy chef cook-off among all the embassies in Washington, and in which she was always placed in the top five.
She thanked the embassy for giving her the experience to regularly interface with and help Jamaicans in the Diaspora, as well as assisting Jamaica in organizing the annual OAS Food Festival, which gives the public a chance to experience the rich diversity of food, music and dances from the countries of the hemisphere.
In Giving her tribute Ambassador Audrey Marks said it was with mixed feelings that she was saying farewell to Mr. Graver whom she described as an institution at the embassy.”Today we are not saying goodbye, we are celebrating you Mr. Graver, and all that you have done for the embassy and for Jamaica. Your 34 years of service is a lifetime, and today we celebrate the service that you have given.”
She described his tenure at the embassy as that of building relationships at all levels, so much that long after they have left, persons with whom he has interacted, continue to ask about his welfare.
In her tribute to Mrs Phillpots she spoke of her commitment to the job and her excellent culinary skills, and how she has over the years catered for the many functions hosted by the embassy. She noted that Mrs Phillpotts was always improving her skills, and commended her for the support she has given to the Consulate department and interfacing with the public and members of the diaspora at the front desk.
The Ambassador said she was pleased at how Mrs Phillpotts represented Jamaica as the Embassy Chef at the Annual Embassy Chef Challenge, where out of the 188 participating countries, Jamaica was always in the top five.
In her tribute Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreigh Affairs, Ambassador Sheila Sealy Monteith Thanked Mr. Graver for his years of service noting that “The diligence, dedication and commitment which you have consistently demonstrated in the daily execution of your duties have been integral to the success of the Embassy’s work. As Driver/Messenger, you played a critical role in ensuring the smooth and effective operation of the Mission. We certainly value your contribution,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary thanked Mrs Phillpotts for her fifteen years of service to the Government of Jamaica.
“I thank you for the diligence, dedication and commitment which you have consistently demonstrated in the daily execution of your duties. As Office Attendant, you played a critical role in ensuring the smooth operation of the Mission. We certainly value your contribution,” she said.
Tributes were also paid by Mr. Franz Hall, Acting Under-Secretary, Diaspora, Protocol and Consular Division MFAFT; Mrs Sharon Miller, Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Ottawa; Ambassador A’dale Robinson, Director, Economic Affairs Department MFAFT; Mrs Nicolette Williams, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy and Mr. Deon Williams, Jamaica’s alternate representative to the Organization of American States, OAS.