New York State Legislator Nick Perry has been confirmed as the first Jamaican-born individual to serve as the United States Ambassador to the island nation. Perry, who was born and raised in Jamaica, has represented New York’s 58th Assembly District, which includes the Brooklyn neighborhoods of East Flatbush, Canarsie, and Brownsville since 1992 and was re-elected to his 15th consecutive term in November 2020. Perry was nominated to replace Donald Tapia, the former US Ambassador to Jamaica, by New York’s US Senator Chuck Schumer, who praised Perry’s dedication to serving his constituents and his promotion of deep cultural, economic, and political ties between the US and the island.
Commenting on his confirmation, Perry said he was “deeply honored and thankful” for the Senate’s action and expressed his gratitude to Senator Schumer for supporting him throughout the nomination process.
Noah Nicholas Perry, 71, was born in St. Andrew Parish in 1950. He is a graduate of Kingston College, which he attended with a full scholarship. Perry worked at the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union prior to migrating to the US in 1971. In 1972, Perry joined the US Army as a volunteer and received an honorable discharge in 1978 with a rank of Specialist Five. He earned a BA degree in political science from Brooklyn College, returning later to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and administration. He was appointed to the Brooklyn Community Board 17 in 1983, later serving as chair of the board. In 1984, he became a District Leader candidate for the 42nd Assembly District. Later, he was a member of the 67th Police Precinct Executive Board and director of the Flatbush East Community Development Corporation. After a new assembly district was added in Brooklyn after the 1990 US Census, Perry was elected to the seat for the new 58th District. In the Assembly, Perry as been vice-chair of the Assembly Majority Conference and majority whip. He was a member of the NY State Assembly Committees on Ways and Means, Rules, Codes, Labor, Transportation, and Banks.
Perry’s confirmation as US Ambassador to Jamaica drew accolades from Jamaica’s Consul General to New York, Alsion Wilson, who noted the historic nature of the appointment. She added that she was very proud of her countryman and friend and said he will bring his understanding of the people of Jamaica to his new role and will strengthen the relationship between the US and Jamaica. Mercedes Narcisse, NYC Council Member who was born in Haiti, cited Perry’s help in getting her elected to the 46th Council District in Brooklyn and added that his story is an “amazing American story” of an immigrant from Jamaica returning to his homeland as the US Ambassador.
Perry, who lives in Flatbush with his wife Joyce, was named Black Legislator of the Year by the National Caucus of Black State Legislators in 2018 and has been honored by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, among others.
Perry’s granddaughter is the Roc Nation recording artist Justine Skye.