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JM | Oct 15, 2020

It’s been 10 years since Jesús Silva bade Jamaica farewell as Spanish Ambassador

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

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Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding (centre) shares a parting-gift moment with Jesús Silva Fernández when the ambassador paid his farewell call on the then-PM at Jamaica House in October 2010. Golding credited the growth of relations between Spain, Jamaica and the entire Caribbean, to the fervour and enthusiasm with which Ambassador Silva approached his work throughout his five years on the island. Looking on is then Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Onika Miller. (OPM photo)

Jesús Silva left Jamaica 10 years ago, having established a reputation as one of the most dynamic, popular and successful ambassadors to Jamaica in recent times.

He shepherded the Spanish hotels onto the north coast, seeing to it that they became a major force on the Jamaican tourism scene. Resorts like Riu, Iberostar, Grand Palladium and Bahia Principe owe him a debt of gratitude.

It was during his tenure that King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain made a state visit to Jamaica.

Affable, debonair, erudite and always well-informed, Jesús Silva Fernández became a hit in Jamaica, all the more remarkable since it was his first ambassadorial assignment.

He once quipped that Montego Bay is “ the capital of Spanish investment in Jamaica”. While he was the Spanish Ambassador, his country invested US$1.2 billion in the island.

Minister of Tourism Ed Bartlett noted: “He perhaps has brought more investments to Jamaica within a five-year period, than any other ambassador that has ever been to Jamaica.”

Reflecting on his time in Jamaica, Silva said: “I believe in Jamaica and I believe very strongly in the possibility for growth of Jamaica, because there is one thing that you cannot change for any other country, which is the Jamaicans themselves and they are the biggest treasure of this country by far.

“Especially, I take the friendship of so many Jamaicans and the lovely years that we ( my family and I ) have managed to spend here. This is something, with all my heart, I want to thank you for having us treated like one of yours, for allowing us to be part of your country and for having allowed us to feel really like at home during this time.”

Jesús Silva Fernández has gone on to build a commendable career with bigger assignments coming his way, having distinguished himself in Jamaica.

He went on to become Spanish Ambassador to Panama. In 2014 he was appointed president of Spanish engineering public company Ineco.

Jesús Silva Fernández, now Spanish Ambassador to Venezuela. (Photo: The Diplomat in Spain)

Three years later he returned to diplomatic duties as ambassador to Venezuela where his skills would be needed in dealing with the Nicolas Maduro administration and its crumbling economy, not to mention its conflicts with the U.S. government.

His next assignment will no doubt will see him in significant service to Spain.    

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