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High commissioner hosts Indian Republic Day fête

Published:Sunday | February 14, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Chester Francis-Jackson, Contributor

Indian High Commissioner Mohinder Grover his wife, Vardeep Kaur, greet Colonel Trevor MacMillan and his wife, Dr Olivia McDonald..

It's been almost 18 months since His Excellency, Mohinder Grover, arrived in Kingston Jamaica, and assumed duties as the Indian high commissioner to the island.

After presenting his credentials, he wasted no time and effort in settling into his job. In doing so he has established himself as one of the foremost diplomats on the island, and one who's admired and respected for his engaging wit and intellect. A 28-year veteran of the Indian foreign service, he is considered by both Indian nationals residing in Jamaica, and by Jamaicans, to be one of the best high commissioners to have served in the island.

Between building bridges of friendship and understanding, as well as greater cooperation between the governments and peoples of his homeland and his host country, Commissioner Grover has found time to fully embrace Jamaica, earning a reputation for being a charming guest, and an even more charming host. His private dinners and cocktail parties have made him one of the most proactive envoys in the island and his soirées are highly regarded as premier social events. His guests have included former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, the late Professor Rex Nettleford; and a number of leading government ministers and high-ranking officials. And he is equally at home exploring the Jamaican countryside.

foreign service

A former financial-services executive, it was a desire to serve his country and people in a more meaningful and tangible way that prompted him to embark on a career in the foreign service. A linguist fluent in English, Spanish, Japanese and with some knowledge of Russian, he has served as director general in the Indian foreign office; and has been posted in the Middle East, South Korea, Tokyo, Moscow, London and as his country's joint permanent representative to the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland.

On January 26, Indians world-wide commemorated their country's Republic Day. And to mark the occasion here, the commissioner and his wife, Vardeep Kaur, hosted a reception at their official residence on East Kings House Road, and what a reception it proved!

Dears, the evening began with non-alcoholic cocktails on the western lawns of the expansive grounds and gardens of the residence.

Afterwards, guests were invited to join the host and his officers for a multicultural presentation that included Indian traditional folk dances, as well as some contemporary offerings in the Bollywood mode - presented by dancers from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Performers were also drawn from the St Andrew Technical High School and received appreciative applause for their effort.

After the entertainment, guests were invited to back to the west lawns for the official invocation by Junior Foreign Minister, Senator Ronald Robinson, who brought greetings on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica. He was followed by the host, who not only gave a summary of his stewardship of the mission, but also an overview of the Indian diaspora and the continuing contribution of Indians all over to the development of their homeland and the world. Guests were then treated to a fabulous repast!

Dears, it made for a simply marvellous reception, which coincided with Jamaica's annual Diplomatic Week celebrations. The week traditionally involves non-resident envoys visiting the island.


The guest list included Security Minister, Senator Dwight Nelson; Justice Minister, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne; Junior Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Dr Ronald Robinson; Ambassador Evadney Coy; Ambassador Elinor Felix; Mitsy Seaga and Zia Mian of the Office of Utilities Regulation; Chief Justice Zaila McCalla and husband, William; president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Seymour Panton; Justice Mahadev Dukharan and wife, Ann Marie; Justice Ingrid Mangatal; Contractor General Greg Christie and wife, Jan; Colonel Trevor MacMillan and wife, Dr Olivia McDonald; Pokar and Sati Chandiram; honorary Consul of Ukraine, Kenny Benjamin, and his companion, Aloima Suarez.

Also spotted were Transport Minister Mike and Peggy Fennell; Barbara Henriques; Jennifer Lim; chief of protocol in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Allicock, and wife, Suzanne; dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Spanish Ambassador Jesús Silva and his wife, Sara; Russian Ambassador Viktor Zotin; the new British High Commissioner Howard Drake and his very charming wife, Gill; Canadian High Commissioner Stephen Hallihan and wife, Cathy; French Ambassador Marc-Olivier Gendry; Belgian Ambassador Frederic Meurice and his fabulous wife, Lydie; Mexican Ambassador Leonora Rueda; Ambassador Mario Pino of Argentina; Ambassador Alfredo Garcia of Chile; South African High Commissioner, Faith Radebe; Nigerian High Commissioner Peter L. Oyedele; Ambassador Dr Nafissatou Diagne of Senegal; Cuban Ambassador Yuri Gala Lopez; Portugal's non-resident ambassador to Jamaica, Joao Caetano Da Silva; Burkina Faso non-resident Ambassador to Jamaica, Daniel Ouedraogo; United States Agency for International Development director, Dr Karen Hilliard.

Also spotted: Dean of the Consular Corps, William Tavares-Finson, and his stunning wife, Sandy; honorary consul of Lithuania, Lois Lake-Sherwood; honorary consul of the Royal Thai Kingdom, Thalia Lyn, and her husband, Captain Michael Lyn; honorary consul of Ecuador Clelia Barreto de Hunter; honorary consul of Poland, Irena Cousins; honorary consul of Costa Rica, Lisa Johnston, and husband, Charley; honorary consul of Portugal, Paul Issa, and his fab wife, Oriente, and family friend, Maureen Bonini; Cindy Breakspeare-Bent; the dapper Ryland Campbell; the simply fab Minna Israel; Horace and Josephine Bogues and their daughter, Sarah; the Hilton Kingston's Frank Rosheuvel; Al Niazi; Lachu Ramchandani; the tres elegant Sonya Alam; Rajiv Bakshi and companion Dorothea Gordon-Smith; Vinay Walia and his betrothed, Sidjae Robinson; the stylish Sonja Sutherland Dumetz; Jean Lowrie-Chin; Nari Williams-Singh and fiancée Trisha K. Thompson; Ahsanul and Rilla Haq; plus several scores others.

Indian High Commissioner Mohinder Grover (left) raps with Joao Da Silva (second left) as well as Paul and Oriente Issa.- photos by Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer.