Dr. Richard Bernal, a former ambassador of Jamaica to the United States who also wrote several articles for journals, books, and monographs as well as published five volumes, has passed.
The well-known economist who served for 40 years reportedly passed out Wednesday night while out for a stroll with his wife in Norbrook, St. Andrew.
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For ten years, Ambassador Richard Bernal served as Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States.
He also served as a Caribbean representative on the board of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Bernal completed academic and technical work, taught economics at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, and provided government advice through positions at the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the Ministry of Finance before beginning his ambassadorial appointment in May 1991.
Bernal, who served under Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, said that his wife of 51 years, Margaret Reckord Bernal, and her enthusiasm and active participation in the social and cultural life of the Jamaican diaspora had a significant role in his success there.
The son of Kathleen and Franklin Bernal, Ambassador Bernal spent four years as pro-vice-chancellor for global affairs at The UWI following the conclusion of his IDB directorship in 2016. His mother was engaged in the insurance industry, while his father was a well-known expert on Caribbean birds who also served in the Jamaican government.
Bernal, a native of Kingston and a graduate of Jamaica College (JC), competed for the institution in tennis, football, and cricket.
The Hon. P.J. Patterson noted in a statement from a press release from the P.J. Patterson Institute for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy at the University of the West Indies:
It is with deepest regret and profound sorrow that the P.J. Patterson Institute for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy at the University of the West Indies announces the passing of Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal, Research Fellow at the Institute and Professor of Practice at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at the UWI.
At the time of his passing on January 4, 2023, Ambassador Bernal, former
Ambassador of Jamaica to the United States was also Senior Associate for the Americas Program at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies. In April 2021 he was appointed to the Leadership Council of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
The P.J. Patterson Institute for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy recognizes the stellar and indispensable contribution that Ambassador Bernal has made to the work of the Institute from its planning, inception and up to the very day of his sudden and untimely passing.
Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, Statesman-in-Residence at the Institute extends heartfelt condolences to Ambassador Bernal’s wife Margaret, their sons, and the rest of their family, as well as to his wide circle of academic and other professional colleagues and friends.