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Oswald Brown: Reflections on my tenure at the embassy in Washington D.C.
By Oswald T. Brown
Jul 7, 2017 - 10:20:07 PM

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Mrs. Colleen Isaacs (second from left), Financial Officer at the Bahamas Embassy, and her husband, Mr. Van Isaacs (left), are pictured with Oswald T. Brown (right) and Funky D, the featured entertainer at the reception hosted by the Bahamas Embassy and Consular Annex at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown D.C. on Friday night.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Over the past four-plus years I have had the pleasure of working with some wonderful individuals at the Embassy of The Bahamas in Washington, D.C., including some very talented young Ministry of Foreign Affairs Foreign Services Officers, under the leadership of Mr. Chet Neymour, who as Deputy Chief of Mission is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Embassy.

Although my tenure as Press, Cultural Affairs and Information Manager officially ends on July 31, in compliance with a directive issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all politically appointed diplomats in the aftermath of the Free National Movement’s victory in the May 10 general elections, I had accumulated some vacation time that I had to take before July 31, so my last day at the Embassy essentially was on Monday, July 3.

Since then, I have been very busy networking with contacts I have developed in D.C., over the past four years and during the 21 years that I previously lived in D.C.  before returning to The Bahamas permanently in 1996, in an effort to develop a support base for THE BROWN AGENCY, a marketing and public relations company which my wife, Elisabeth Ann Brown, and I are in the process of establishing.

I have been a naturalized citizen of the United States since 1982, and after being notified that my “diplomatic contract” would not be renewed, my wife and I decided that rather than return to Freeport, Grand Bahama, where I had lived for 12 years prior to coming to D.C., we would remain in D.C.

Elisabeth is an excellent professional photographer, who also writes extremely well, and given my more than 55 years’ experience as a journalist, it was quite natural that we would try to use our expertise and establish a company. But my roots are firmly planted in the rich soil of Stanyard Creek, Andros, and I am first and foremost a Bahamian; therefore, as a Bahamian in the Diaspora, I shall continue to do everything I can to let potential visitors to The Bahamas know that IT’S BETTER IN THE BAHAMAS is more than just a tourism-promotion cliché, but in many respects is a fact.

I have already written to the new Minister of Tourism Dionisio D'Aguilar about the possibility of THE BROWN AGENCY assisting the Ministry in “spreading the good word” about The Bahamas being one of the world’s leading tourist destinations in a very lucrative market here in the United States.

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Oswald T. Brown, former Press, Cultural Affairs and Information Manager at the Bahamas Embassy, is pictured with one of the talented young Foreign Affairs Officers at the Embassy, Miss Tracee Dorestant, Second Secretary and Alternate Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), on Friday night at the reception hosted by the Bahamas Embassy and Consular Annex at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown D.C.

When I previously lived in Washington, D.C., for 21 years, I was News Editor of The Washington Informer, an award-winning African American-owned newspaper, for more than 12 years. The current Publisher of the Washington Informer is Denise Rolark Barnes, former Chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), which represents more than 200 African American print and digital newspapers across the United States.

Several years ago I suggested to then Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe that The Bahamas can accrue tremendous benefits by promoting our tourism product in selected African American newspapers, which have a very loyal and committed readership. Considering that African Americans on an average spend a good amount of their disposable income on vacations, I appealed to Mr. Wilchcombe to give serious consideration to my proposal.

Mr. Wilchcombe made a solemn promise to me personally that he would include African American newspapers in the Ministry of Tourism’s advertising budget and he reiterated that commitment to publishers of African American newspapers when the NNPA held its annual convention in Nassau in 2015.

Unfortunately,  Mr. Wilchcombe never kept his promise, and I was reminded about that recently by several publishers of African American newspapers when I attended the NNPA annual convention held June 20-24 at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland, during discussions with them about plans by THE BROWN AGENCY to seek advertisements from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism for their publications.

In my letter to new Minister of Tourism D’Aguilar I renewed the appeal I made to Mr. Wilchcombe. He has not yet responded and I’m hoping that when he does the news will be good.

For the time being, however, I plan to enjoy the remainder of my vacation here in D.C. like a tourist. As I mentioned earlier, over the past four years, I thoroughly enjoyed working with His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, and a very professional group of young Bahamian Foreign Affairs Officers, including Second Secretary Mikhail Bullard, Second Secretary Krissy Hanna, Second Tracee Dorestant and Third Secretary Jade Williams.

With this past Monday  being my last day at the Embassy, I got the opportunity to socialize with them and other Embassy staff members Friday night at a reception hosted by the Embassy and Consular Annex at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown D.C. celebrating the 44th anniversary of The Bahamas’ attainment of independence from Great Britain.

The evening was made all the more exciting and enjoyable for me because the featured entertainer was Funky D, one of my favourite Bahamian entertainers. It is because of Funky D that I generally stay at SuperClubs Breezes, where he has been appearing nightly for many years, when I visit Nassau.

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