Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Bittersweet farewell for Canadian ambassador

Published:Friday | September 1, 2017 | 9:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica, Bernardo Guanche Hernández (left) presents a parting gift to outgoing Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Sylvain Fabi.
Sandwiching the new British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad are his lovely wife (left) and the always radiant Minna Israel.
Mexican Ambassador to Jamaica, Cecilia Jaber (right) shares the spotlight with her daughter, Emilia.
Argentine Ambassador to Jamaica, Ariel Fernandez (right) and Canadian High Commissioner, Sylvain Fabi (left), in conversations while Counsellor of Politics Press and Information at Deligation of EU to Jamaica Gavin Tench, looks on with a glass of wine in hand.
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It is often said that parting is such sweet sorrow. Those were the sentiment shared by Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica Sylvain Fabi at his official farewell reception held in the Port Antonio Suite at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel last Tuesday night.

An intimate gathering of diplomatic friends converged in the suite, mingling over red and white wine, with a few other spirits in between.

Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica Bernardo Guanche Hernandez, who hosted the evening's formal proceedings, stated that Fabi left an excellent impression on Jamaica. He told the story of their first meeting, where the Canadian high commissioner greeted him in a perfect 'Cuban' accent. He jested that Fabi could probably speak English in a Jamaican accent, but he'd leave the Jamaicans to decide if this was true.

Hernandez wished Fabi continued success, urging him to enjoy the peace, prosperity and happiness that he deserves with his family.

After the presentation of the customary parting gift, it was time for the man of the hour to say a few words. In his address, he said, that the night was about seeing all the faces in the room and being among friends. "My posting was too short. In our careers, we don't decide where or when we go. I'm not happy to leave Jamaica after two years, but I am happy to go back home to my family in Canada, who could not accompany me on this journey. So this is a bittersweet pill to swallow with a lot of mixed emotions," he confessed.

Canada, he said, plays a big role in Jamaica the historical trade links are deep-rooted and the long-standing involvement in the defence force is unparalleled. But what stood out for him is immigration; "When you come to a country where you're doing things and your contribution is recognised, you can't help but be grateful for that," he added.

He expressed gratitude to the Jamaican government, who, no matter the political party, treated him with respect. When he leaves here, he said he will always remember the people in the room and the memories they shared, except in winter when he will be thinking about the beaches. He ended the night dedicating his final toast to Jamaica.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com