COTED praises Amb. Gail Mathurin as she retires
“A consummate professional”, “a shining example of service”, “erudite”, were among the accolades Trade Ministers heaped on outgoing Director-General of the Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN), Amb. Gail Mathurin on 24 November 2021.
Amb. Mathurin demits office at the end of the year after spending more than a decade at the helm of the Barbados-based OTN, coordinating the Region’s trade policy and steering its positions in the bilateral and multilateral arenas.
The Chair of COTED, the Hon. Easton Taylor-Farrell, Premier of Montserrat, Ministers and other delegates at the just-concluded two-day Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) paid tribute to Amb. Mathurin as they wrapped up two days of discussions.
Premier Farrell drew attention to the broad depth of her knowledge, experience, and guidance. He thanked her for her service and wished her every success and good health in the future.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith led the accolades, describing Amb. Mathurin as a distinguished Jamaican who had “blazed a trail on the international stage”.
“We’ve truly benefited from her wealth of knowledge in an area for which the Region is in critical need, raising the bar of excellence in our trade negotiations,” Minister Johnson Smith said as she wished Amb. Mathurin well.
She recalled that prior to becoming OTN Director-General, Amb. Mathurin served her country with distinction, serving initially at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. She served in various other capacities, including as Ambassador to Geneva, High Commissioner to London, and Permanent Secretary.
Expressing gratitude to the OTN Director-General, the Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Barbados, Hon. Sandra Husbands recalled how impressed she was with Amb. Mathurin’s professionalism and “complete grasp of the issues” affecting the region trade-wise.
“She has done a wonderful job in leading in organisations and doing work that needs to be done, to represent this region in the many arenas in which she would have executed her tasks. I want to say to her that the region is grateful; we’re thankful…,” Minister Husbands said.
Trinidad and Tobago, via its Minister of Trade and Industry, the Hon. Paula Gopee-Scoon, also expressed appreciation to Amb. Mathurin, for her exemplary service.
“She’s been a shining example of service to the CARICOM Region,” Minister Gopee-Scoon said, pointing out that Trinidad and Tobago had benefited from her wealth of knowledge in trade negotiations.
The Minister also singled out Amb. Mathurin’s humility, sanguinity, and her ability “to coalesce and manage a team of professionals in negotiations”. She added that the diplomat was known for her “innovative solutions to negotiation deadlocks”, quick thinking and proactive proposals on the Region’s behalf.
Grenada’s Minister of Trade, the Hon. Oliver Joseph, congratulated Amb. Mathurin on a “job well done”.
“She has served us well. Her country and her Region and we are very proud to have people like her in the forefront,” he added.
Amb. Mathurin has served us very well, ably navigating us through some complex trade matters over the years, Dominica’s Trade Minister the Hon Ian Douglas said in his tribute.
Belize Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration, the Hon. Ramon Cervantes, recalled the OTN Director-General’s contributions and interventions in the meetings, pointing out that they “have been sober and wise counsel.”
Guyana’s Ambassador to CARICOM, His Excellency George Talbot said the Director-General was “a public servant in the best traditions of our Region.” He said the Region had benefitted from her selfless dedication to CARICOM, Jamaica, and the region as a whole.
“We have all been inspired by her commitment to excellence, her enormous capabilities, her stellar engagements in the arena of trade negotiations, and the integration process…,” he said.
“We are absolutely proud of the work she has done on behalf of the Region
For Saint Lucia’s Director of International Trade, Dr. Thomas Samuel, Amb Mathurin was a shining example to many young professionals in trade. He added that the Region had benefitted tremendously from her example, and commended her stellar leadership and stewardship of the OTN.
Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox, in his reflections, praised Amb. Mathurin for her erudition and loyalty. He said she was “always a voice of reason” and that the Executive Management Committee of the CARICOM Secretariat was deeply indebted to her for her contributions
“She has served the Region with distinction,” he said.
Responding to the well-wishers, Amb. Mathurin thanked the members of COTED for their “very, very kind remarks and best wishes”, which she said had “touched her tremendously”. She said it was a great honour to have worked in the Region for more than 10 years. While there were many challenges, high and low points, she said overall it was an “extremely rewarding experience.”
She also expressed gratitude to the members of COTED for their guidance and friendship and wished them well as they navigated the economic development and trade course in what she described as “the challenging times ahead”. She also said she deeply appreciated her colleagues at the CARICOM Secretariat, particularly those at the Directorate of Trade and Economic Integration and the Office of Trade Negotiations.