It was a sea of red and black at the newly opened official residence of the Canadian High Commissioner Marie Legault as Barbadians joined in celebrating Canada Day.
The new residence goes by the name ‘Maple Breeze’ and is located in Seaview, St James, which was a hive of activity last night as dignitaries, including several members of the newly installed Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration, loudly cheered Canada on its achievement of 151 years as a federation.
The festivities began around 6 p.m. with a beautiful rendition of the national anthems of Barbados and Canada by opera singer Nathan Richards which set the tone for the unveiling of the new commemorative book ‘Maple Leaves and Caribbean Seas’, which chronicles Canada’s involvement in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean since its independence.
Among those quoted in the book are David Parks, the vice president and managing director for Scotiabank in the Eastern Caribbean, and his wife Cynthia.
He told last night’s gathering he was extremely honoured to be a part of the professional designed publication.
“I would like to first thank the High Commissioner for opening her home to us to celebrate Canada’s 151st birthday. I also want to congratulate and recognize Marie and her entire team who took ‘Maple Leaves and Caribbean Seas’ from a concept to reality.
“When she first contacted us for a quote, we had no idea we would be appearing in such a professionally designed published book being shared across the Caribbean,” an elated Parks said.
The Minister of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, who was previously employed at the Canadian High Commission, also addressed last night’s gathering.
Humphrey, who defeated former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in the May 24 general elections in which the BLP swept all 30 seats, suggested that it was much easier for him to do so than to cut ties with the Canadian High Commission after working there for the past five years.
“ I have had tremendous difficulty in writing [my] resignation [letter] that is the truth. . . . And if my voice sounds a little emotional it is because I have not handed in [my resignation letter] as yet and I do not think the High Commissioner knows. It is the most difficult thing I had to do in a long time and I just beat a Prime Minister, so good figure,” he said to loud applause.
In his recitation of a poem, Senator Sir Trevor Carmichael said that for him Canada meant “maple leaves and flags coined in coat of arms”.
As guests mingled, Lorraine Klassen, who is referred to as one of late South African president Nelson Mandela’s favourite artistes, delighted the audience. (LG)