Excerpt from Observer column published July 30 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
|Carmen with her Dancehall style poster|
at the event she hosted celebrating
She came to Jamaica as a fledgling diplomat in 2015, but little did Carmen Rives know that she would be placed in the role of Chargée d’Affaires after the sad passing of Ambassador Aníbal Jiménez y Abascal. She tackled her role wholeheartedly, welcoming Spanish investors large and small, embracing Jamaica’s culture, and promoting Spanish education and culture through the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation. She wowed the audience of the ‘Powerful Women & Men’ show by performing poems by Gloria Fuertes in Jamaican patois.
Carmen was particularly impressed with the Alpha Institute and the rich history of its predecessor, Alpha Boys School, cradle of Jamaican music. She saw the uplifting work being done at the Institute by Sister Susan Frazer, Margaret Little-Wilson, Dr Joshua Chamberlain and dedicated teachers, and supported them, helping to find jobs for graduates and holding a sizeable fundraiser with big-name artistes.
“Meeting Carmen in 2015 was serendipitous,” notes Dr Chamberlain. “It was a time when Alpha needed lots of help creating a foundation for the Alpha Institute. Carmen's tireless support and special ability to bring the community together from business and foundations to the diplomatic community has helped to create opportunities for current and future students. Carmen also shares our big vision…We look forward to maintaining our friendship and know she will do great things long into the future.”
Ever for unity, Carmen held a Rae Town Tribute to celebrate Jamaica’s Independence and Emancipation in 2016. Downtown came uptown with a pulsating dance party, ‘Tribute to Rae Town’, inviting the mellow Classique Sound System and Sister Norma to delight guests of various walks of life. No wonder then that at a farewell dance organised by friends last Thursday, the legendary Ken Boothe created special lyrics for Carmen, most appropriately to his song, “Lady with the Starlight”. Long may Carmen’s light shine, as she heads for her next tour of duty in Mozambique.