Eastern Caribbean Time Zone UTC-04:00
Capital City Bridgetown
Currency Barbadian dollar BBD
National Day 30 November
BARBADOS’S NEW HIGH COMMISSIONER His Excellency Mr Milton Inniss returns to the UK 34 years after he studied here. “London has always been like a second home,” he remarks. Arriving just before Christmas with his partner and mother, he recalls, “Being asked to come to London was a memorable moment. The move into diplomacy was certainly not planned, and so when the call came, I was surprised. But the opportunity to serve is a great honour, and in London – wow, so here I am!”
Excelling at maths, it was a “logical progression” for Mr Inniss to follow his father into the construction industry, where he has worked for 34 years, specialising in areas of project management, financial management, contract administration and dispute resolution. He qualified in Quantity Surveying at Reading University and is also a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Over the years, the work took him to their office in St Kitts and to various other Caribbean islands. Mr Inniss also became an assessor for the RICS, overseeing the examination of candidates within the Quantity Surveying and Project Management streams who wish to become Chartered Surveyors.
His work in construction in the Caribbean highlighted Mr Inniss’ passion for climate change, environmental sustainability, and the use of alternative sources of energy and recycling, which are particularly critical and important in small island states. He explains that he looks forward to the implementation of LEED design and zero energy buildings as the norm in the built environment.
Service and volunteering have been a strong thread throughout his career. For the past 28 years, the High Commissioner has been a member of the Rotary Club of Barbados West, the global service organisation whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the globe. As a Rotarian, he was significantly involved in a number of local community projects, most notably capitalising on his expertise with renovations to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. A highlight was his involvement in creating a scholarship programme in 2001, to allow students to attend the University of the West Indies. “One of our first candidates who came from very trying circumstances graduated with first class honours. That was a proud moment. To date, 25 students have benefitted from this initiative.”
Mr Inniss went on to serve as Rotary District Governor of District 7030, responsible for the administration of 68 clubs in 14 countries, spanning from St Kitts in the north, to Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana in the south. (District 7030 has since expanded to include Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire.) The role “involved working with three languages, plus many different cultures and histories: very much a melting pot of peoples. During my travels I met Heads of State, Prime Ministers and other officials.” Much like diplomacy, an important aspect of the work was managing relationships. “How I interacted with people was important. How to disagree without being disagreeable, agree to disagree but still be friends, and so on. Simple values of politeness and respect were very important, just like they are in my role today.”
As High Commissioner in the UK, Mr Inniss explains that “Barbados seeks to enhance its relationship with the UK. But there’s already a special relationship there; a few years’ time will mark 400 years since the British arrived in Barbados in 1625.” Tourism is our country’s biggest income earner, and so the tourist board in the High Commission is working hard to ensure that Barbados remains a destination of choice.” International trade and business are also high on the agenda, along with seeking partnerships with the UK on cultural and educational exchanges. “Plus, the business of sustainability, the environment and Blue Economy are all big issues on our agenda.” Much of the High Commission’s work “is reaching out to the large diaspora and embracing them. We must capture their spirit to help Barbados to grow and achieve.”
Mr Inniss admits the work will sometimes be “a juggling act. One of Barbados’s greatest challenges is our limited resources. We can’t always do everything that our colleagues in the larger embassies and high commissions can, but we nevertheless strive to achieve our diplomatic objectives.”
A self-confessed “armchair sportsman,” the High Commissioner holds Life Membership to the Barbados Cricket Association. Passionate about music, Mr Inniss plays the piano and organ. But naturally, service is never far from his mind. For many years, he has been his country’s representative for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, responsible for the administration of all practical and theory examinations on the island.