There is a new consul general in town. Well, he’s new to the position but not new to the Caribbean community in Philadelphia. Christopher Chaplain is now the honorary consul general for Jamaicans in the area as he steps into the big shoes that Dr. Alston Meade left behind.
The turnout of supporters was wonderful as the new appointment was officially announced during the Caribbean Business Forum and reception on June 8 at City Hall in downtown Philadelphia. Everyone in the Council Meeting Room was present because of their respect for Chaplain.
The acting consul general of Jamaica to New York, Lisa Bryan-Smart, made the official announcement, and in response the attendees gave a standing ovation. She offered her personal congratulations and read a citation from the Jamaican government. The consul general of New York said Chaplain was no stranger to public service since his father served in political office in Jamaica some years ago.
He may be soft-spoken, but make no mistake that he can get the job done. This man comes well-qualified, with a lot of credentials and a wealth of knowledge.
Chaplain earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering from the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad, and an MBA from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
His work experience is vast. He is currently a senior associate of Opportunity Finance Network, an organization that manages an investment portfolio of over $600 million and invests in community development, financial institutions, loan funds, venture funds and credit unions nationwide. Between Jamaica and the United States, he has extensive banking experience and has worked for premier financial institutions in both countries.
Chaplain is co-owner of New York-based Hard Beat Communications, which focuses on regional news and investments. Hard Beat manages several brands including CaribPR, News Americas Now and Invest Caribbean Now. He is a member of the advisory board of Kingston, Jamaica-based Chocolate Dreams Limited, a manufacturer and distributor of premium chocolates. He is a mentor and adviser to Kingston-based Kraas Images. Chaplain serves as financial advisor to FanCheer Interactive Inc., a sports technology company in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
He served as co-chairman of the Philadelphia Organizing Committee of Team Jamaica Bickle and is currently a member. He previously served as co-chairman of the Philadelphia Caribbean Complete Count Committee of the U.S. Census. He received the 2010 Award of Excellence from the African and Caribbean Business Council for his leadership in the African and Caribbean community during the 2010 U.S. Census.
He is a member of the Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs for the City of Philadelphia and served on the Transition Team of Mayor Jim Kenney on the Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Committee.
Big him up!
The officers and members of the Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean organization, including Stanley Straughter and Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, offered congratulations and read a citation from the City of Philadelphia. They both said this was a well-deserved honor because Chaplain was such a hardworking and dedicated individual.
During the reception that followed many attendees spoke about Chaplain’s humility and his support of the Caribbean and African organizations throughout Philadelphia.
Chaplain has not wasted any time in stepping in and doing the work of this office. He has already organized a committee of well-qualified professionals who are waiting in the wings to assist in their area of expertise and to brainstorm on how the position can be of service, not just to the Jamaican community but to the Caribbean community at large. They are Donahue Bailey, Dr. Lisa Soares, Nadine Midgely and Dionne Poyser.
“From the start I got the support of everyone around me,” said Chaplain with a warm smile as he spoke about the event. “It was great to see family, friends and supporters in the room. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and Stanley Straughter have always been very strong supporters as well. But my biggest supporter is my wife of 26 years, Margaret, and our two sons, who will have to share my time with the demands of this office.”
Chaplain said he looks forward to serving the Jamaican community in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.
We know that Chris (as most of us know him) will put his best foot forward, as he always does.