Jamaica’s Shadow Foreign Minister, Lisa Hanna, is facing embarrassment after issuing a statement saying she’s mourning the passing of St. Lucia’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States, Anton Edmunds.
But Mr. Edmunds is alive.
In her statement this afternoon, Ms. Hanna said Ambassador Edmunds died of injuries sustained in the Las Vegas mass shooting in Nevada Sunday night. This prompted Jamaica’s Foreign Ministry to issue a statement this afternoon, correcting Ms. Hanna.
Foreign Minister, Kamina Johnson-Smith, says the St. Lucian Ambassador is “alive and well.”
Lisa Hanna was appointed Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade last Thursday; Six days ago. And already, she’s faced with a comically embarrassing diplomatic blunder.
In her statement this afternoon, Miss Hanna says she’s ‘saddened’ by the tragic death of Mr. Edmunds. But Jamaica’s Foreign Ministry says Mr. Edmunds is alive. It says St. Lucia’s Foreign Minister has confirmed this is so.
Minister Johnson Smith says Mr. Edmunds, himself, yesterday corrected the false report which was circulating online.
The statement issued today by Miss Hanna is her first as Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs. She was appointed to the post last week by Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips.
In this afternoon’s statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, portfolio Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, also cautions and lectures Miss Hanna. She’s cautioned her against “fake news.”
Minister Johnson Smith says only earlier today, her CARICOM Foreign Minister colleagues were commenting on the phenomenon of fake news and how much greater care needs to be exercised in this domain. She’s urging Miss Hanna to appreciate the importance of exercising caution and sensitivity in pronouncing on such matters.
And broadly, on matters generally associated with Jamaica’s foreign policy and relations. She also extends her regrets to the people and government of St Lucia for any “distress” caused by the statement issued by Miss Hanna.
The Communications Director in the Office of the Opposition Leader, Jenni Campbell, has advised Nationwide that Miss Hanna’s statement has been withdrawn.
On Sunday, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock gunned down 59 people and injuring more than five-hundred others who were attending a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. He opened fire on the crowd from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, roughly 400 yards from the festival’s main stage.
The incident is considered the worst mass shooting in recent US history.