By RON FANFAIR
Guyanese-born Valerie Amos is the most senior United Nations official responsible for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief following her recent appointment.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has named Amos under-secretary general after Britain’s Prime Minister Dave Cameron gave his blessings. The 56-year-old single professional is Britain’s High Commissioner to Australia.
“This is a massively significant job, and one of the top five at the UN,” a source said. “It would be unthinkable for Britain not to have one of the top five jobs. France has peacekeeping, the U.S. has political affairs and China has health. It makes sense for Britain, which has pledged to meet the 0.7 per cent target (to spend that amount of gross national income on overseas aid by 2013), to have this job.”
Amos rose to prominence seven years ago when she became the first Black woman and just the second Black to sit in the British cabinet. She served as international development secretary and House of Lords leader until 2007 when former PM Gordon Brown nominated her as the European Union’s special representative to the African Union.
Paul Boateng was Britain’s first Black cabinet minister.
Amos, who grew up in Wakenaam in Essequibo, left Guyana at age nine in 1963 with her mother and two siblings. Her father went to England two years earlier to set the stage for his family’s arrival.
The parents, Edward and Eunice who were teachers, both passed away in February 2008 and the children established a bursary last year in their name.