Recently appointed Saint Lucia High Commissioner to the UK, Mr. Guy Mayers, recently paid an introductory visit to the homes of Birmingham-based Saint Lucians, at which time he wished them the best in 2017.
Birmingham lies some 120 miles north of London. That this was the first time in 45 years that a high commissioner had called on him was not lost on 65-year-old Errol Alcide. At Alcide’s side as he talked with Mr. Mayers was his mother, aged 91. Their smiles suggested the new high commissioner’s visit had healed all wounds.
The high commissioner also visited Mrs. Ann Marie, an amputee who is unable to leave her house. She has lived in Birmingham for fifty years and is the aunt of former health minister Alvina Reynolds. Her eyes lit up as she proudly spoke of her niece Linda Hamilton. “She is my secretary,” Mr. Mayers informed her, and Mrs. Ann Marie was barely able to contain her delight. Ours is certainly a small world.
Also on the receiving end of glad tidings was Mrs. Clemence Douglas, 95. She is the mother of eight and great grandmother to twenty. Her only Saint Lucian-based daughter, Linda, is the wife of local businessman Everiste Jn. Marie. Photographs of Mrs Douglas’ grandchildren, Junior, Theo and Eva, contemporaries of Mayers’ own offspring, adorned the walls of her living room. Soon to be 96 years old, Mrs. Douglas is the oldest Saint Lucian living in Birmingham.
The high commissioner also called on the Patterson family. Husband and wife Petrus and Maria left their sick beds to welcome the new man in town. They expressed their joy on receiving gifts from him. Family matters soon dominated the conversation, including a passport-related problem that Mr. Mayers assured them he would resolve.
The debate over the role of Saint Lucian ambassadors around the world has intensified in the last few years. Indeed, the matter was put to High Commissioner Mayers when he appeared on TALK with Rick Wayne, shortly before leaving home to take up his position in the UK. The role in execution, performance, duties and functions of the post, not forgetting value for money, has sparked many passionate discussions. What is without doubt is that it cannot be business as usual.
When you have served the motherland as a soldier, and were engaged in the second world war, in Egypt; when you can look with pride at pictures of yourself in uniform when you were just 33, how can you, now 95, not have a whole lot to share? Kelly Mason certainly had much to tell the visiting high commissioner about his past adventures. He had joined the British Army from Saint Lucia, rising to the rank of corporal.
“This is me in the army,” he said, pointing to a framed but faded photograph of himself in uniform. The pride he felt after all these years was obvious in his eyes. Then it was his wife’s turn to tell her story: born in Choiseul, first name Veronica, maiden name Wells, mother of three: two girls one boy, granddaughter an Oxford graduate. In the exchange of biographies – as per the rules of engagement in these matters – Mr. Mayers offered a glimpse of his own family.
Before heading back to London the high commissioner found time to visit several other Saint Lucian homes, a gesture that was most appreciated by all those with whom he met and talked. The consensus seemed to be that the new high commissioner to the UK has hit the ground running. Hopefully, there will be more touching of Saint Lucian flesh throughout Mr. Mayers’ tenure!