JG - A diplomatic dining experience
A diplomatic dining experience
published: Sunday May 4, 2008
Photos by Winston Sill/Freelance PhotographerLEFT: From left, Yolanda Saez, Sandy Tavares-Finson, Kimberly Mais-Issa and Phillippa Epstein as they hang out at the Consular Corps' 'Meet the New Executive Social' at Shortridge Avenue, Jacks Hill, on Thursday, May 1.RIGHT: Past Dean of the Consular Corps of Jamaica, Grantley Stephenson, chats with long-serving Consul to Lithuania, Lois Lake-Sherwood.
Chester Francis-Jackson, Gleaner Writer
It has long been regarded as a sort of privileged club of the well-to-do, with nothing better to do, who use their time, energy and resources to exercise some of their social clout. This perception may have more to do with the fact that membership within this organisation is often regarded with the same fanciful dispatch as their counterpart in the diplomatic corps. But we are, of course, talking of members of the consular corps and their invaluable role in buttressing the role and scope of diplomatic officers, and being primary representatives for the citizens of the countries they represent.
To be sure, there is a glamorous side to being a member of the consular corps but, by and large, that is an aside to the hard tasks involved in generally representing the interests of the sponsoring country. And in an era when more and more countries are emerging from former but now fragmented states, the economic realities cause some to forgo the sometimes costly effort in establishing and maintaining missions. The role of the consular officer is becoming that much more visibly important.
Here in Jamaica, members of the consular community are generally people of accomplished stature, not of leisure, their vital role underscored from time to time through interfacing at the governmental level, via representations and rapport; emphasising their import in the ever-changing role of international relations.
A few weeks ago, at the annual general meeting of the consular corps of Jamaica, its former dean, honorary consul of the Kingdom of Norway, Grantley Stephenson, having served in that capacity for one year, opted not to seek re-election, and so a new slate of officers was elected. The affable honorary consul of Slovakia, Christopher Issa, was elected as dean of the corps, his vice dean being the honorary consul of Nicaragua, William Tavares-Finson.
The rest of the slate is: Honorary Consul of The Bahamas, Keva Hylton, secretary; Honorary Consul of St Lucia, Vitus Evans, treasurer. Directors are: Honorary Consul of Iceland, Robert MacMillan; Honorary Consul of Ecuador, Clelia Baretto de Hunter; Honorary Consul of the Royal Thai Kingdom, Thalia Lyn; and Madai Hernandez, minister counsellor of the Venezuelan Embassy.
To take the organisation forward, as well as providing an atmosphere for members to really get to know and interact with each other, last Thursday evening the vice-dean of the corps, William Tavares-Finson, and his very lovely wife, the tres elegant Sandy Tavares-Finson, threw a rather charming reception at their fab upper St Andrew residence, in Jacks Hill.
In fact, we are talking an outing so fine, we are talking peach melba here!
To begin with, my dears, the Tavares-Finsons' residence is a rather elegantly designed home and decorated so magnificently, it is truly an interactive work of art.
Hosted in the courtyard, the affair proved a most relaxed event, as guests shared an evening steeped in style, charm and camaraderie that made for the perfect outing. That and a fare of choice Jamaican traditional offerings, that included a dessert station that was so fine, it was a dieter's worst nightmare. We are talking a buffet offering of home-made rum cake, sweet potato pone, mini plantain tarts, éclairs, and then, as if to assuage the guilt, fruit-kebabs, sans grilling.
My dears, with premium libations flowing, the bar ably manned, the affair proved a most socially and intellectually stimulating outing. And as members of the corps worked the evening, meeting and greeting, it made for the perfect launch for the approaching weekend.
No ceremonies here, just a few words of exhortation from the dean and vice-dean, followed by a presentation and introduction of the executive and then it was back to the fab social on hand.
Those in attendance
Among the notables out were: Dean of the corps, Christopher Issa and his lovely wife, Kimberly Mais-Issa; head of the EU delegation, His Excellency Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi-Alemanni and his very charming wife Fiela Mazzocchi-Alemanni; Spanish Ambassador Jesús Silva; Mexican Ambassador Lenora Rueda and Colombian Ambassador Ventura Diaz Mejia.
We also saw: Consul General US Embassy Ed Wherli and his lovely wife Rose; Minister Counsellor of the Venezuelan Embassy Madai Hernandez and Marcelo Munoz; Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Norway Grantley Stephenson; Honorary Consul of Turkey Arnold Foote; Honorary Consul of Iceland, Robert MacMillan; Honorary Consul of Ecuador Clelia Barreto de Hunter; Ainsley and Marjorie Henriques, Honorary Consul of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Joseph Handal; Honorary Consul of Lithuania Lois Lake-Sherwood; Derek Jones, Honorary Consul of Sweden; Honorary Consul of The Kingdom of Thailand, Thalia Lyn, and hubby Capt Michael Lyn; Irena Cousins, Honorary Consul of Poland; Honorary Consul of Ghana, Patrick Lynch; Yoly Gobind Mahtani, honorary consul of Chile (MoBay) and her husband A. Mahtani; Winston Bayley, Honorary Consul of Barbados; Garth Scott, honorary consul of Greece, and his companion Philippa Rousseau; Ken Sylvester, Honorary Consul of Grenada; Dr Florin Ionica, Honorary Consul of Romania; Honorary Consul of Switzerland Ulie Bangerter; the charmingly lovely Janet Robinson; Paolo Byles, Honorary Consul of Peru and her husband John Byles; and Evroy Chin, Honorary Consul of the Philippines; plus a number of others.