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Temporary US Consul leaves after three months

Short stay: Alan Purcell, the Acting US Consul General, has left Bermuda after just three months (photograph supplied)

The acting US Consul General has left the island after just three months in the post, it was announced today.

Alan Purcell, a career diplomat, came to Bermuda at the end of January after the election of Democrat Joe Biden as US president.

It is understood that Mr Purcell’s replacement will also be a temporary appointment.

A spokeswoman for the US Consulate said that a decision on a long-term post-holder would probably not be made until the summer.

The spokeswoman confirmed that Mr Purcell had left the island and that details of his replacement will be revealed later this week.

She said that it was typical for acting Consuls General to be appointed for short periods.

Mr Purcell said in a tweet today that he had enjoyed his stint on the island.

He wrote: “As I depart for a new assignment, thanks to colleagues and all Bermudians for welcoming me and for your dedication in unprecedented times.

“It was an honour and pleasure, from the first fish sandwich, to working with local partners, to learning Bermuda’s rich history.”

Mr Purcell’s controversial predecessor, Lee Rizzuto, sparked a wave of protest after he was appointed by former US President Donald Trump last year.

The haircare products millionaire donated almost half a million dollars to Mr Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

The US Consul General’s job in Bermuda is one of a few posts that are in the gift of the president and not always filled by professional diplomats.

Social Justice Bermuda, a pressure group, claimed Mr Rizzuto was “unfit for a diplomatic post”.

Protesters campaigned outside the US Consulate in Devonshire last June after Mr Rizzuto’s appointment was announced.

A petition with more than 93,000 signatories was later presented to John Rankin, the then-Governor, by SJB.

The campaign group asked Mr Rankin to reject the appointment of Mr Rizzuto and declare him “persona non grata”.

But Mr Rizzuto continued to hold the post until the changeover of administrations in January.

He said at the time: “Although my time in this beautiful country was somewhat brief, it was very significant.”

“My wife Denise and I will continue to cherish the memories we have made here and extend our well wishes to everyone.”

“Bermuda has found a special place in our hearts.”

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Published May 06, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated May 05, 2021 at 11:26 pm)

Temporary US Consul leaves after three months

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