Her Excellency Norma Taylor Roberts, Jamaican High Commissioner in South Africa
‘It’s living history’ said Her Excellency Norma Taylor Roberts at a farewell function in her honour. She was referring to her tenure in South Africa as Jamaica’s High Commissioner. She said it was a special posting in which she experienced a bond of two nations whose historic relations was forged in the ideologies of freedom.
She expressed her gratitude to all including the staff at the High Commission, her colleagues in the diplomatic community, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) and all those that made her posting special. She also urged them to persevere and support the transforming and maturing South African freedom and democracy.
Deputy Head of Mission John Clark in his tribute to the High Commissioners said “Her Excellency has represented the Government of Jamaica in South Africa for the past three years and her tenure in South Africa represents the culmination of more than thirty years of sterling service on behalf of the Government of Jamaica. As Her Excellency prepares to proceed on retirement leave we therefore use this occasion not only to recognize the achievements of her tenure in South Africa but also to pay tribute to a long distinguished career in public service.
During her tenure in South Africa, High Commissioner Taylor Roberts has very actively promoted the cultural ties between Jamaica and South Africa. She has also achieved her goal of building on existing areas of cooperation in order to develop a sustained and tangible relationship between Jamaica and South Africa – this has been manifested in the conclusion or advancement of various bilateral treaties and memoranda of understanding; and she has zealously sought to ensure that bilateral Agreements do not become ends in themselves but are practically implemented.
Her Excellency has worked closely and assiduously with government agencies, the private sector and civil society on both sides towards the enhancement of trade, investment and tourism linkages between our two countries. She has also consistently endeavoured to promote the interests of the Jamaican community in the region.
During her career as a Jamaican public servant, High Commissioner Taylor Roberts has made invaluable contributions in the area of multilateral diplomacy. Some highlights in this regard include:
- her assignment in 2005 as Chief Negotiator on behalf of the G77 & China on Administrative and Budgetary Matters (Fifth Committee);
- her assignment from 2002-2007 as Chief Negotiator for Jamaica at the United Nations on issues pertaining to Oceans and the Law of the Sea; and
- her assignment from 2006-2007 as Chair of the United Nations Committee for Programme & Coordination.