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Jamaican diplomat Bernal collapses and dies

January 5, 2023
Ambassador Richard Bernal collapsed and died Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Via

Kingston, Jamaica CMC – Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Jamaica has lost a pillar of the academic and diplomatic community following the death on Wednesday night of former ambassador to the United States, Richard Bernal.

Media reports said that Bernal collapsed while walking in Norbrook, St Andrew, southeast of here, with his wife.

“Ambassador Bernal gave committed service to his beloved country, Jamaica, and to elevating our status and relations with bilateral and hemispheric partners. He represented the people of Jamaica with honour, dignity, and professionalism,” Holness said in an immediate reaction to the death of the economist and diplomat.

“Ambassador Bernal’s legacy will live on in the continued manifestation of Jamaica’s positive engagement with our global partners and dexterous navigation of global issues that affect the South and indeed the world as a whole.”

Holness said that the former Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs at The University of the West Indies (UWI), had a wide understanding of international economic policy and economic development as they affect small island developing states, such as Jamaica and other countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Bernal served as the Director-General of the Barbados-based Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) for eight years having responsibility for trade negotiations for CARICOM, and Holness said Bernal’s experience with CARICOM institutions, international development financing institutions and as an academic, demonstrated his competence and commitment to the promotion of Jamaica’s role in the world.

Bernal served as the Jamaican Ambassador to the United States from 1991 to 2001, simultaneously holding the post of Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the Organization of American States He was also a Member of the Leadership Council of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and also a member of the Board of Directors at Laspau, Harvard University.

He was also served as a Caribbean representative on the board of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Bernal was also the author of several books and more than 100 articles in scholarly journals, books, and monographs, as well as opinion editorials in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and the Miami Herald.

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