Jamaica’s former ambassador to US Richard Bernal dies suddenly after collapsing while walking

Jamaica's former ambassador to US Richard Bernal dies suddenly after collapsing while walking. Image: Lisa Hanna/Twitter

TRIBUTES flooded social media following the news that Richard Bernal, Jamaica’s former ambassador to the United States, died suddenly after reportedly collapsing while out walking.

According to reports from Jamaica, Richard Bernal died suddenly late on Wednesday, January 4.

Jamaican news outlet Jamaica Gleaner reported that Bernal collapsed while walking with his wife in Norbrook, St Andrew, an upscale neighbourhood of the Kingston Metropolitan Area of Jamaica.

He was a Jamaican economist and diplomat who served as the Jamaican Ambassador to the United States from 1991 to 2001, simultaneously holding the post of Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the Organisation of American States.

Professor Bernal was also a member of the Leadership Council of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and served on the Board of Directors at Laspau, Harvard University.

Tributes flooded social media following news of Bernal’s sudden death.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Ambassador Richard Bernal.

“Ambassador Bernal gave committed service to his beloved country, Jamaica, and to elevating our status and relations with bilateral and hemispheric partners.”

He added: “Dr. Bernal was Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States of America, and Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS), positions he held for 10 ½ years.

“Ambassador Bernal was member of the Broad of Directors of the Inter-American Development Bank (2008-2016) and was a Chief Trade Negotiator for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

“As the Director-General of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) for 8 years, he had responsibility for trade negotiations for CARICOM.

“He represented the people of Jamaica with honour, dignity, and professionalism. This is a significant loss for Jamaica. May his soul Rest In Peace.”

CARICOM Secretary-General Carla Natalie Barnett wrote: “I am shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Dr Richard Bernal who was instrumental in promoting and advancing the Community’s trade and economic interests. Condolences to his family.”

Jamaican MEP Lisa Hanna wrote: “I’m stunned & saddened by the unexpected death of Professor the Hon. Ambassador Richard Bernal, OJ – supreme diplomat, economist, scholar, author, teacher, & patriot who served with dignity and distinction, adding value to our economy, global positioning, & bilateral negotiations.”

She added: “Furthermore, he left a legacy with many of us who are better off for his teaching and invaluable mentorship.

“Jamaica has lost a global titan.

“I express sincere condolences to his wife Margaret, and family.

“Walk Good Ambassador.”

Member of the Jamaican Senate, Floyd Morris, wrote: “I am deeply shocked and saddened by the death of Ambassador Richard Bernal. This prodigious public servant and intellectual giant was my colleague and friend. He provided me with my first scholarship when he was head of the Workers Bank in the early 1990s to study at UWI.”


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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