My Kingston — High Commissioner Esmond Reid

Sunday, April 21, 2019

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Esmond Reid Jamaican High Commissioner-Designate to Nigeria

When did you relocate from Kingston to Abuja?

I arrived on March 10. This is my first time in Nigeria.

What has been your most memorable experience in Nigeria so far?

I have been struck by the significant levels of respect and courtesy that are extended to persons in high office by the average Nigerian.

So far, what do you miss most about Kingston?

Without question I am missing my family who are not yet with me at post. I also miss hanging out with friends and colleagues and discussing local and international developments. I also miss my weekly treat of hominy corn porridge from Juici Patties for breakfast.

Where were you born?

I was born in Kingston at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I fondly recall growing up in Vere, Clarendon, where I loved to play cricket, football and other games with my friends after school and banging on my grand aunt's old piano.

What five words best describe you?

Compassionate, tenacious (not stubborn), patient, creative, and passionate.

How long have you worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade?

Almost 29 years. I joined the ministry immediately after completing my Bachelor's degree at The UWI, Mona.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your posting in Nigeria?

Securing opportunities for increased trade, investment, cultural and technical cooperation between Jamaica and Nigeria. There is untapped potential on either side.

How does Abuja compare to Kingston?

There are some similarities given the role of both cities as evolving urban spaces in a developing country context. Commercial activity is a major feature in both locations. The role of religion is also very pronounced in both. Beyond this, Abuja is significantly bigger than Kingston in terms of land area and population size.

Have you yet met members of the Jamaican community in Nigeria?

I have been meeting individual members of the Jamaican community and I have spoken to others over the telephone. I look forward to having an early opportunity for a collective encounter with members of the community, to hear their interests and concerns and to make a plug for attendance at the 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference to be hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade in Kingston, June 16-20, 2019.

Which landmarks in Abuja are you most looking forward to visit?

I certainly hope to visit a wide range of cultural, economic and historical sites in Abuja and other parts of Nigeria, as well as the other countries in West Africa to which I will be accredited, namely Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Have you visited either the Wuse or Garki International markets? How do these compare to Coronation market?

Yes, I have visited both markets. They are similar to Coronation market in terms of the wide range of food items on offer and the lively banter between vendors and customers. The Nigerian markets, however, offer a wider variety of goods and services and patrons are expected to engage in serious bargaining over the price of the items. Whereas handcarts are primarily used to move products inside the Coronation market, it is the wheelbarrow that is the preferred mode of transport inside the markets in Abuja.

A night out or a night in?

It depends on the incentives on either side! Generally though, a night out would take precedence.

Where is your favourite place to hang out in Kingston?

I quite like the variety of options in Kingston hence there is no single spot above all others. I would say, however, that the Tuesday night grill by the pool at the Jamaica Pegasus is a favourite along with the weekend ambiance at CRU. I also like the occasional drive out to the Palisadoes Strip to capture the spectacular sunset.

Finally, what's your personal credo?

Very simply, with God all things are possible!


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