A familiar face is back at the Jamaica consulate in Toronto.
Lloyd Wilks, who served as consul from 1990-1993 and acted for six months as his country’s top diplomat in the city after Kay Baxter was recalled and her successor Margarietta (Marguerite) St. Juste – both now deceased – was appointed, has replaced George Ramocan.
He’s excited to be back in Toronto two decades later.
“I have very fond memories of this place,” said Jamaica’s ninth consul general in Toronto. “I grew as a diplomat under Kay’s leadership. She was a special person and I credit her and Ossie Murray with building the strong relationships that exist between Toronto and Jamaica. They engaged the passionate Jamaican community here and ensured their concerns were addressed.”
Murray, Jamaica’s first consul general in Toronto from 1977-1987 and dean of the consular corps in Toronto from 1984 to 1987, died at his St. Ann’s home last November at age 91. He served as regional information officer in Toronto for four years prior to becoming consul general.
Wilks said the Jamaican government is seriously interested in the contributions of nationals in the Diaspora, many of whom are highly skilled professionals and can help the country transition to first-class and first-world status.
“The strength of Jamaica lies in our human resources,” he said. “It’s all hands on deck as we move forward.”
Wilks’ appointment coincides with the arrival of new Consul General Janice Miller, who took up the post of high commissioner in Ottawa last October.
“We are career diplomats coming out of the same ministry and our paths have crossed,” he said. “We share a common vision and I am looking forward to working with the high commission.”
A 1983 Kingston College graduate, Wilks was preparing to join the Jamaica Defence Force in pursuit of becoming a pilot when his application to attend the University of the West Indies was approved.
He graduated with a geography degree and a Master’s in diplomacy and international relations from the University of Westminster and a MSc in international business from London’s South Bank University.
Wilks joined the Foreign Service 26 years ago while at the UWI Mona campus.
After leaving Toronto in 1993, he spent five years as counsellor and minister counsellor in London before returning home. In 2000, Wilks was dispatched to Havana as head of chancery. He held that position until 2003, when he went back to Jamaica and was posted to London a year later as minister counsellor.
Six years ago, Wilks was recalled to Jamaica and appointed deputy director of the Diaspora and Consular Affairs department and director in 2012.
He played an integral role in the organization and execution of the last two biennial diaspora conferences and helped to co-ordinate the launch of the Mapping Jamaica Diaspora Project prior to his Toronto appointment.