Friday 25 October 2019
The Costa Rican Ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, has made his first official visit to Guernsey.
This is the first time an Ambassador of Costa Rica has visited Guernsey, and comes in advance of the bicentenary of Costa Rican independence in 2021.
During his time in Guernsey, the Ambassador met the President of the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy Gavin St Pier, as well as other Members of the States of Guernsey's Senior Committee and representatives of the Committee for Economic Development and the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture. Meetings with politicians focussed on the island's current priorities, and the cultural and historic links between Guernsey and Costa Rica through William Le Lacheur. The Ambassador also met with industry representatives and local businesses who would like to improve links with Costa Rica.
The Ambassador attended the opening of the exhibition 'William Le Lacheur - the land he loved', created by local artist Frances Lemmon. William Le Lacheur was a Guernseyman and merchant who is credited with setting up the direct trade in coffee between Costa Rica and Europe in the 1840s. He also assisted the Costa Rican Government in defending the country from attack in 1856, and is still viewed as a national hero in Costa Rica where his ships have featured on bank notes and postage stamps.
During his stay in Guernsey the Ambassador was also able to have a tour of the island, including important sites related to William Le Lacheur, and visited Castle Cornet, where he fired the noonday gun.
President of the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy Gavin St Pier said:
"It was a privilege to meet the Costa Rican Ambassador, His Excellency Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, during his first official visit to the island - and indeed the first visit to the island by any Costa Rican Ambassador. Guernsey continues to work to develop its international identity and bilateral relations with jurisdictions across the globe. The relationship between us and Costa Rica through the work of William Le Lacheur provides a strong basis for us to develop and strengthen our historical links with Costa Rica. The story of William Le Lacheur is of cultural and historic significance and is perhaps less well known in Guernsey than it is in Costa Rica, but it is one which Guernsey should rightly be proud of. I look forward to continuing to work with the Embassy in the run up to Costa Rica's bicentennial independence celebrations to ensure that we are able to build on these existing links."