Monday, January 12, 2009

Brenda LaGrange Johnson Loves Jamaica

The Jamaica Gleaner's Lifestyle Editor Barbara Ellington recently interviewed Brenda LaGrange Johnson, outgoing US Ambassador to Jamaica. It is a very interesting interview, especially her answer to the ‘best memory of Jamaica’ question.

Check this out:

What's the best memory that you will take with you from your tour of duty and any advice for your successor?

The great people I have met and great friends I have made. In spite of the fact that there is a wonderful diplomatic corps and an amazing staff to work with, you have to branch out and meet Jamaicans. They are what make this country great. I have found everyone from the lowliest worker to the prime minister to be hard-working, loves their family and is very patriotic. I admire so much the fact that almost everywhere I go, the national anthem is played, even at the movie theatre. We sing ours at the Super Bowl and big events but not as often as it is done here. Patriotism is very much a part of the Jamaican psyche.

You honeymooned here and you have seen a lot of the country; do you have a favourite spot in Jamaica?

I am a diplomat so I can't pick one, but my children love Kool Runnings, Jakes in St Elizabeth, to jump off the cliff, the Black River Safari, Dunn's River Falls and all the other places that offer adventure. I like the resorts like the Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall, Jamaica Inn where Britain's John Major goes all the time; Round Hill with Josef Forstmayr (if I were going to be in the hotel business, it would only be if he could manage my property). We constantly go to Tryall because our family is huge and the villas are large and it offers everything. They have a fabulous tennis programme. Sandals
Montego Bay has made me a convert to all-inclusives too. I was there recently with a large group and I was stunned by the quality of everything and my friends were amazed. They know how to service the customer. Those are among the places I love.

Do you have a love for any particular Jamaican food or dish?

I love chicken and I do think I have had more here than anywhere else. My children love Scotchies Restaurant in Montego Bay. It's their favourite place here. They feel they are 'Jamerican' and are often upset if when they leave they don't have a set return date. They have been here 16 times in three years. My other favourites are jerk chicken, callaloo and yams (though I'll never be Usain Bolt).

Read the full interview here: Part One and Part Two

Brenda LaGrange Johnson’ Biography

Big up Barbara Ellington and the entire team at the Jamaica Gleaner.


You will visit Jamaica.

See you in Jamaica.