High Commission of Jamaica, London
|High Commission of Jamaica in London|
|Location||South Kensington, London|
|Address||1-2 Prince Consort Road, London, SW7 2BZ|
- 1 History
- 2 Diplomatic Life in London
- 3 Staff, roles and functions
- 4 Gallery
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The High Commission had its beginnings in 1962. Among the first diplomatic missions to be established after the attainment of independence from Britain, the office was initially located at Bruton and Grosvenor Streets, then on St. James Street, before eventually moving to its current location Prince Consort Road.
For many decades, Jamaicans have been travelling to England to work and study. In the 1940s many Jamaicans volunteered and fought alongside the British in World War II. In the post-war era, there was mass migration from Jamaica due labour shortages in the 'motherland', with the first arrivals aboard MV Empire Windrush, bringing almost 500 Jamaicans to Britain. Waves of Jamaicans later emigrated to the United Kingdom for economic and educational reasons.
Diplomatic Life in London
The Jamaican High Commissioner in London is also concurrently accredited as non-resident Ambassador to Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Ireland. The appointment of Honorary Consuls in these countries has helped to facilitate the Mission’s management of bilateral relations.
List of High Commissioners
Since Independence, eleven Jamaican High Commissioners have been accredited to the Court of St. James, as follows:
• Sir Laurence Lindo (August 1962 – December 1973)
• Arthur Wint (July 1974 – March 1978)
•Ernest Peart (September 1978 – August 1981)
•Herbert Walker (November 1981 – August 1988)
•Ellen Gray-Bogle (Sept 1989 – November 1993)
•Derick Heaven (April 1994 – May 1999)
•David Muirhead (July 1999 – August 2002)
•Maxine Roberts (September 2002 – December 2004)
•Gail Mathurin (April 2005 – September 2006)
•Burchell Whiteman (January 2007 – January 3, 2010)
•Anthony Johnson (May 2010 to May 2012) 
•Aloun Ndombet-Assamba (May 2012 to Present) 
Staff, roles and functions
The High Commission to the UK has a staff complement of 20 persons. It also houses the offices of the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Jamaica Information Service and the European Regional Office of Jamaica Trade and Invest. JHC UK (the Jamaican High Commission in the United Kingdom) prides itself in providing a rounded diplomatic experience to Jamaican Foreign Service officers, as it deals with bilateral, multilateral, consular and community issues all under one roof. JHC London is therefore an excellent training ground for officers in the Foreign Service.
The High Commissioner
The High Commissioner, as head of the Mission, is responsible both to the Government of Jamaica and to the United Kingdom. He or she participates in the formation of Mission policy and its execution. The High Commissioner’s primary aim is to foster, maintain and improve co-operation between Jamaica and these countries, as well as to develop trade, economic and tourism links. The High Commissioner also maintains contact with Jamaican nationals living in the UK through regular visits to communities, meetings, and functions.
The Deputy High Commissioner
The Deputy High Commissioner deputizes all the functions of the High Commissioner, manages all administrative and financial matters, and oversees the Consular, Political and Community Development sections of the High Commission.
The Political and Economic Department
The Department considers and analyzes developments of a political, economic and commercial nature that relate to Jamaica. It is responsible for maintaining and enhancing contacts between Jamaica and the British government, Commonwealth Secretariat, the International Maritime Organisation, the International Cocoa Organisation, and the International Coffee Organisation, among other multilateral entities.
The Department also assists with the co-ordination of cultural activities such as fairs, meetings, and educational talks.
The Consular Section is the service arm of the High Commission and interfaces with a large clientele of Jamaican nationals across the United Kingdom. Consular requests from the six countries under the Mission’s purview are usually transmitted through accredited Honorary Consuls of Jamaica living in each country.
The Section provides a number of services including but not limited to:
• Processing applications for Passports, Visas, Citizenship and Emergency Certificates;
• Provision of advice with respect to applications for Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates;
• Authentication and certification of documents to be used in the United Kingdom and Jamaica;
• Prisoner, Student and Child Welfare;
• Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders;
• Verification of nationality and identity of persons subject to removal orders;
• Estate matters;
• Police records.
The High Commission also conducts Surgeries (outreach) to the community in Birmingham every first Thursday of every month and in Manchester every third Wednesday of every month. Jamaicans can therefore avoid travelling to London to access consular services. Surgeries are conducted by two Officers who receive applications for Emergency Certificates, Passports, Citizenship by Descent, and certification of documents.
The Birmingham Surgery begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Afro-Caribbean Millennium Centre. Two volunteers from the community pre-examine applications and accompanying documentation to assist the High Commission. A detailed examination of the applications and interviews are then conducted by the Consular Officers.
Diaspora development is designed to strengthen relations between the Jamaica government and Jamaican nationals in the UK. Among activities that have taken place recently is the lobby against the Air Passenger Duty.
The Community Relations Department maintains close links with the Jamaican community in the UK. There are now over 74 Jamaican organizations, 56 Caribbean organizations and 36 Afro- Caribbean Service Centres listed on the High Commission’s database. The Community Relations Officer encourages the formation and continuing development of community groups and associations, participates in community events, disseminates information on Jamaica, provides welfare advice to needy Jamaicans, and coordinates and facilitates donations to Jamaica.
The High Commission in recent years has targeted youth organisations. For example, the Young Minds Group initiative solicits the advice and ideas of Jamaican students in the UK regarding Jamaica’s national development.
Finance and Administration Department
The main functions of the Finance and Administration Department are:
a) To manage and co-ordinate the financial activities of the High Commission, Jamaica Information Service (JIS) and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
b) To deal with personnel and staff matters, the general operation and maintenance of the Mission's facilities, and the computer system.
- "The London Diplomatic List". 13 December 2013.
- Jamaican High Commission, "JHC London" (July 2010)