Powell Embraced His Caribbean Roots Throughout Entire Successful Career - Jamaican Envoy
WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 19th October, 2021) The late Colin Powell, who was the first Black man to serve as Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was always aligned to his Caribbean roots and upbringing regardless of how much he achieved throughout his career in public service, Jamaican Ambassador to the United Nations Curtis Ward told Sputnik.
Powell died on Monday at the age of 84 from complications of COVID-19. He had been treated over the past few years for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that impairs the body's ability to fight infections and to respond well to vaccines.
"He claimed us," Ward said on Monday. "He spoke about visiting rum bars in Jamaica, he played Caribbean music in his office and had Jamaican rum in his cabinet. He is a man who achieved so much in life but was very very aligned to his Caribbean roots and upbringing. He said his parents came to the US in a banana boat."
Powell, during his time as the head of the US armed forces, led the American military to its overwhelming victory in the 1991 first Gulf war against Iraq.
Aside from personal matters, Ward highlighted two crucial moments in Powell's career: the Aristide situation and his presentation before the UN Security Council about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Ward said Powell, during his time as the top US diplomat, gets no credit for how he handled the removal of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the middle of the night during a coup d'etat in 2004 . Powell said the plan may have saved Aristide's life.
In regards to Iraq, Ward highlighted the conflicting duty Powell had to undertake at the UN Security Council when he presented the United States' plans for invading Iraq because of alleged weapons of mass destruction.
"I always interpret that moment as him by every breath he took being a military man," Ward said. "He actually went to CIA headquarters because he had doubts. He insisted that (CIA Director) George Tenet sit behind him. He had his doubts and he was diligent in trying to find out the truth... Colin Powell was in opposition to invading Iraq. Powell told the president if you go in there, you own it."
Powell, Ward concluded, was an icon in American history, a great American, and a great man.