The most recently appointed High Commissioner for Barbados to the UK, His Excellency Milton Inniss, arrived in the country on Monday December 17 to take up his duties. The country’s representative at the Court of St James appeared to hit the ground running and Barbados TODAY caught up with him at his office in central London for a brief interview.
The affable and self-effacing diplomat said he was honoured to be asked to represent Barbados and that in so doing, he will strive to bring all Barbadians in the diaspora, regardless of colour or creed, together for the common good of the country. He emphasized that his mission “first and foremost, is to serve our nation and by extension all its people in the UK”.
Born in 1963, the son of Mr Julian and Mrs Ina Inniss of Deacons Road, St Michael and latterly of Chelsea Road, St Michael, he was introduced to the discipline of a structured education at the early age of 4 when he attended Merryvale Infants School, Belleville before moving to Harrison College at age ten. After leaving the Crumpton Street school, he attended Reading University in Berkshire, England and qualified as a Quantity Surveyor.
Whilst at the University, the High Commissioner threw himself into the cosmopolitan life of the University and became a prominent member of the Afro-Caribbean Society. Drawing his attention to the then relatively high Barbadian population in the town, I asked if he found it possible to link with the resident Barbadians. He said although he was fully aware of the homeland connections, he was not able to do as much as he might have done.
He added, “My probing and enquiring mind sought knowledge of the wider community and oft times I would take the relatively short journey to London to explore and absorb the broader British culture that could be found there.” High Commissioner Inniss has travelled on many occasions to London from Barbados and now feels that, in some way, he is at home away from home.
After his spell at the University, on returning to Barbados he became a Director at Quantity Surveyors Cooper Kaufman where he stayed for ten years. He changed careers thereafter and worked with the construction company Moojani Caribbean Ltd. as General Manager and Director for a further 23 years.
Despite what appeared to be a heavy work load, His Excellency honed his skills and appetite for service to the community and for the last 30 years has been a member of the Rotary Club of Barbados West. He become District Governor for 2015/2016 -7030 covering a region from as far north as St Kitts to as far south as French Guiana. It soon became apparent that the High Commissioner lives and breathes the motto of his club, Service above Self. He said, “Service to others defines an individual, it helps to mould one’s character and above all it enables one to give back to the community.”
Looking ahead, I asked him about his aims as he sets out on a new and winding journey. Moved momentarily to a state of near emotion, the new incumbent spoke warmly, saying, “I want to strengthen the diaspora in this country where no one is left on the sidelines or feels unwanted at the High Commission. There is a duty for all of us to stand together and grow as a united nation as we emerge from a bleak period in our history. I see part of my remit as one to promote all trade, encourage and increase tourism to the country and bring pride into the homes of Barbadians across the country so that when I leave these shores, I can justly be proud and happy that I have given service above self.” He further added, “I would like to wish all Barbadians in the UK and at all stations across the globe a very happy Christmas and a prosperous 2019 and I look forward to meeting Barbadians in the UK at the earliest possible time.”
I sense a humble and all-embracing man with a passion for the arts, sport, community and family. And to underscore his commitment to family, he has travelled with his 96-year-old mother. You get the feeling she will be the strength behind him as he undertakes this new task.
Mr Vincent “Boo” Nurse is a Barbadian living in London who is a retired land Revenue Manager, Pensions and Investment Adviser. He is passionate about the development of his island home and Disapora.