Grenada resumes independent diplomatic mission in Ottawa

By Lincoln DePradine

Grenada, whose former High Commissioners to Canada have included one-time Miss World winner, Jennifer Hosten, is returning to having its own single diplomat based in the Canadian capital, Ottawa.

Sylvester Quarless

The Caribbean nation, as a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, has had joint representation in Ottawa through an OECS High Commissioner.

Mario Bullen, who died in 2009, was the last diplomat to serve as High Commissioner for Grenada in Canada.

Bullen, a career diplomat, also was a Grenada and OECS Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.

Joseph Andall, Grenada’s foreign minister, announced Tuesday that businessman and chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sylvester Quarless, has been designated to take up the appointment of High Commissioner in Ottawa.

“We have started the process,’’ Andall told reporters at a news conference, when asked about Quarless, a former MP and an ex-government minister.

Jennifer Hosten

“We are now awaiting several other moves, some of which are outside of our control at the moment,’’ Andall added. “But, once we get the green light from the Canadian authorities, we will be proceeding full steam ahead with the physical setting up of that mission.’’

The office of high commissioner was opened after Grenada became an independent national in 1974.

“I set up the office,’’ said Toronto resident and retired Justice of the Peace, George Griffith, who served as Grenada’s first High Commissioner in Ottawa.

Griffith is also a former Grenada Ambassador to the United States, as well as permanent representative to the United Nations.

Hosten was the 1970 Miss World winner; the first Black woman to capture the title. She was Grenada’s High Commissioner to Canada from 1978-1981.

Foreign Minister Joseph Andall

Quarless, the latest person to be named to the position by Grenada, is a former minister of social development and the environment.

He was part of the government when the NDC, under former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, won 11 of 15 seats in 2008 over the New National Party (NNP) of Dr Keith Mitchell.

Of the 11 NDC MPs of 2008, only lawyer Peter David still sits in the House of Representatives. He’s MP for the Town of St George and NNP assistant general secretary.

He’s formally notified the NNP that he plans on contesting the party’s leadership position, whenever a convention is held.

Former Prime Minister Mitchell, who had indicated that he was retiring from politics after 40 years, now is expected to seek reelection as leader of the NNP.

“I have put myself in the race; I believe I’m the best candidate,’’ said David, a Carleton University graduate. “But certainly, there are other people who want to be a candidate and who believe they’re the best candidate. So, I am saying the fact that other persons are coming in, and putting up their names for leadership, is welcomed.’’

Andall, who also has responsibility for trade and export development, said Grenada wants “to have a presence’’ in Ottawa, and also promised that the consulate general in Toronto – now headed by Gerry Hopkin – will remain operational.

“We recognize that to gain maximum benefit from our diplomatic representation in that country (Canada), that it is more productive, more sensible, to have a presence in the capital, where the decisions are made; where you’re more likely to have an impact,’’ said Andall. “We will continue to maintain our consulate in Toronto, where the majority of Grenadians in Canada resides.’’