Guernsey Press

Commonwealth nations come together at Government House

Commonwealth citizens resident in Guernsey gathered for a champagne reception at Government House on Saturday.

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A total of 25 of the 56 Commonwealth countries were represented, with about 100 people, some from as far away as Australia, coming together for the event.

Royal Commonwealth Society Guernsey branch president Darren Vogel said he was pleased that so many communities were able to come together.

‘We want to make sure that people from around the Commonwealth, who are working and living in Guernsey, feel welcome,’ he said.

'There were some from Cameroon who didn’t realise that there were more people from Cameroon.

‘It was to acknowledge that there are more Commonwealth people in Guernsey than ever before post-Brexit and to inspire these communities to come together.'

Mr Vogel said that many Guernsey employers rely on workers from around the Commonwealth, from hospitality to financial services.

‘Our financial industry is thriving thanks to them,’ he said.

Lt-Governor Lt General Richard Cripwell said: ‘We’re here to bring together the Commonwealth nations. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for several years, so I’m really pleased that today we are.

‘We have 25 nations here getting to know each other and to remind people of what good the Commonwealth does around the world.

‘In the year when His Majesty visits our island, it’s important to bring together the Commonwealth. He is its head and a huge believer in the power and ability of the Commonwealth.'

Piper Nick Taitz entertained everyone by playing his bagpipes. Tunes included a regimental march by the Royal Engineers called Wings, Mull of Kintyre and Flower of Scotland, which he said had been a crowd favourite.

Clara Mpansaile, who is originally from Zambia, said she had been living in Guernsey for a year-and-a-half.

‘I work as a cross-section radiographer at the PEH,' she said.

‘When I saw the job advertised, I did some research of Guernsey and it looked like a lovely place.

‘I have a family with young kids and I thought it would be a good place to bring them up.

‘It’s so safe here and the people are lovely. It has been amazing.

‘My kids adapted really well and I think that is because of the people and the environment.'

Kashmira Shinde and Sheubam Serraf have been living in Guernsey for about eight months.

‘We came from India and we work at Grant Thornton.

‘Kashmira works in tax and I work in audit,’ said Mr Serraf.

‘It’s really safe here, the people are very nice and helpful,’ said Miss Shinde.

Tahira Rahman came to Guernsey about two-and-a-half years ago. She works at Bangladeshi restaurant Dhaka.

‘It’s really nice in Guernsey,’ she said.

‘I’m excited to be here today and a little nervous. The place is very nice and I really like it.'

Cheng Howat moved to Guernsey from Malaysia 19 years ago.

She met her husband, Andrew Howat, while working for a financial services company in Hong Kong.

‘What I love about Guernsey is its natural beauty and also the kindness of the people,’ she said.