Since its inception in 2004, The Caribbean Council’s annual reception at the UK Houses of Parliament has grown and developed a reputation as being one of the best receptions on the UK Parliamentary Calendar.
This year’s event took place on 20 May 2013. The turnout was once again excellent with around 300 people attending.
The prestigious House of Lords Terrace in London was the venue for the event and it was hosted by the Rt Hon The Lord Foulkes in his capacity as President of the Caribbean Council.
The Caribbean Council has been holding the reception in parliament for the past nine years, and attendance has gone from strength to strength. This year was no exception with a broad range of stakeholders attending including MPs, Peers, High Commissioners, Ambassadors, UK Civil Service, NGOs, the Caribbean community in the UK and of course business people invested in or working with the Caribbean region.
Keeping the Caribbean on the Parliamentary Agenda
The Caribbean Council reception is the only pan-Caribbean event on the calendar in UK Parliament and it is for this reason that it consistently attracts high level speakers and attendance. This year's reception was no exception. The Caribbean guest speaker was Dr the Honourable Orlando Smith, Premier of the British Virgin Islands and the UK Ministerial speaker was Mark Simmond MP, the Minister with responsibility for the Caribbean and the Overseas Territories in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Governor General of Jamaica was also in attendance and addressed the audience. To provide a private sector persective, Andy Thorne from Kestrel Liner Agencies spoke about the continued interest in trade and investment in the Caribbean that was demonstrated by thehigh turnout at the reception.
To celebrate the partnership with the British Virgin Islands this year, guests were all treated to a BVI speciality cocktail called the Painkiller. They were also offered the opportunity to win the holiday of a lifetime to the British Virgin Islands in the free prize draw. The star prize was one week's accommodation at the exclusive Peter Island Resort and Spa coupled with return flights to the Caribbean provided by Virgin Atlantic Airways. The nervous tension as the Premier selectesd the winning ticket was palpable. The prize was won by a member of the Caribbean Britain Business Council, while those who were not so lucky left with brochures dreaming of a holiday to the BVI.
Most people recognise music as an important part of Caribbean cultural heritage. With this in mind, the reception has always taken place to the background music provided by a steel band. This has always been a popular and unique feature of this parliamentary event given that music is not traditionally permitted and Lord Foulkes has to request special permission for this to be allowed.
The reception would not have been possible without the support of its Country Branding Partner - the British Virgin Islands including the Tourist Board and International Financial Centre and Corporate Sponsors. It is also extremely grateful to the prize donors.
Country Branding Partner
Headline Corporate Sponsor
Business Partner Sponsor
Supporting Sponsors and Prize Donors
The Cuban Embassy in London
The High Commission for Jamaica in London