Its the appointment that has been causing heads to swivel in the diplomatic community; and tongues to wag, in the uptown and the ranks of the JLP – That appointment was announced in July, when Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Kamina Johnson, declared that Alsion Roach would be Jamaica’s next Consul General to New York, succeeding Trudy Deans, who had been relieved of the duties in December of 2018, to be replaced by her Deputy, who acted in the post until what we later learned, was State Department clearance for Ms. Roach!
The appointment did not go down well with political insiders as they say Trudy Deans was treated unfairly by Holness, who many regarded as making the final call on the appointment, if not initiating it himself. And the way Deans was replaced, was deemed unprofessional and damaging to her professionally, and could impair her employment prospects.
But what caused many a tongue to wag, is the fact that according to insiders, the recommendation of Roach’s appointment, was submitted to the US State Department over a year ago, before Deans demitted office, but the State Department found some ‘adverse’ findings that required ‘clarification’ and this resulted in the delay in Roach’s appointment.
Now reports of the delay, due to ‘adverse’ findings came as quite a surprise, shock even, to many in the diplomatic and the political directorate as, Ms. Roach’s CV boasts several high-profile appointments with a number of reputable financial institutions on Wall Street, which caused many to assume, required the highest security clearance, and so the State Department’s request for clarification came as a broadside.
Now, during that time, there were a lot of behind the scenes diplomatic hustle, to satisfy the State Department, and this, many thought, gave the Prime Minister another opportunity to review the appointment, with a view of naming another Consul General, or to ask Deans, to Continue in the post, considering that Dean was no neophyte and had impeccable political credentials.
To the dismay of Independent Observers, as well as Deans’ supporters, the Prime Minister buckled down on the appointment and waited until Roach satisfied the requirements of the State Department, and once that came through, the appointment was made public.
Well, even after the appointment was made public, opposition to the appointment did not subside, in fact it became stronger as many inside the JLP saw the appointment as a slap in the face to Deans and other party stalwarts and operatives, as they made it known, they did not think that Roach had sufficient ‘training’ for the post, or that she had paid her political dues. And on top of that, many were alleging that indeed, she had made entreaties to the Portia Simpson-Miller administration, also in search of a cushy appointment., boasting of her Wall Street connections and supposed connections to International high-finance, and when that did not pan out, then she rolled over and decided to hitch her wagon to the fortunes of the JLP administration.
But what makes this appointment troublesome for many Party insiders, is that they see the appointment as the latest in a series of actions by the party hierarchy that has been disenfranchising Party-loyalists and operators, by giving plum jobs and or cushy appointments to people they regard as ‘Outsiders’.
The appointment is difficult for many to swallow, as they equate it with the appointment of Yolanda Ramorach, “who no one ever saw on the campaign trail, or holding down a cluster”, but are now being rewarded with the best appointments, while the committed and dedicated are being passed over, or worse, being offered the menial tasks, with minimum wages!
And to make their point, they point at a number of other appointments in various ministries, where “Outsiders” are reaping the sweets, whilst those who remained loyal, when “Party” friends were few and hard to find, have now stepped in and are being welcomed with the Fatted-Calf and all the fandangles associated with the return of the Prodigal Son And Or Daughter!