In Trinidad and Tobago news. There was a festive spirit in the air when His Excellency Garvin Nicholas hosted the final Nationals Meeting for the year at the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission, London on Wednesday 27th November. Addressing a packed room of Trinbagonian nationals, Nicholas noted that the Meeting marked his third year as High Commissioner, a tenure which had brought him great satisfaction.
“The past three years have brought me great satisfaction and joy,” Nicholas remarked. “I have strived to treat you all with warmth and understanding, regardless of background and allegiance. We have come a long way together, and I have thoroughly enjoyed representing you and our country. I hope I have made you proud”.
The High Commissioner was warmly received by the audience and was thanked for his tireless service as well as the exceptional events he has opened up to nationals during his tenure, most recently the largest ever Eid celebration at the Mission and a grand Divali celebration which was held at the High Commissioner’s residence.
The Meeting took place amidst a hectic schedule for the High Commissioner, who had recently returned to London after attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka, and is currently participating in a week long conference at the International Maritime Organisation.
Nicholas opened the floor to questions from the nationals, which yielded significant insight into several pressing matters, including the ongoing appeal by Caribbean High Commissioners for the re-banding of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax levied on Caribbean flights from the United Kingdom.
The High Commissioner divulged that he and other colleagues had made the APD re-banding a matter of urgent priority at this year’s CHOGM, and had held promising bilateral talks with the British Foreign Secretary.
Nicholas revealed that the Caribbean High Commissioners had received firm assurances that the matter would be dealt with in the near future.
The High Commissioner also shared some of his ongoing plans to direct foreign investment into the local economy, emphasising the necessity of implementing initiatives which can ultimately raise national operational standards.
Nicholas reiterated the need to pursue ventures which would diversify Trinidad and Tobago’s economy and establish long term global partnerships and sustainable livelihoods.
Nicholas also took the time to acknowledge the passing of a longstanding and well-loved member of the Trinidad and Tobago Diaspora, Ms. Syliva Shoon, noting that her dedication to the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission and her love for her culture would leave a lasting legacy.
As he closed the Meeting, the High Commissioner thanked all nationals, many of whom, like Ms. Shoon, had assisted him greatly throughout the last three years. “My nationals have become my second family,” he stated. “Having a strong Diaspora really helps the High Commission carry out its mandate, and all of you have made this job worthwhile for me”.