Sri Lanka's new High Commissioner to Britain, Dr Chris Nonis recently presented his credentials to Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. A doctor by profession, Dr. Nonis was the Chairman of the Mackwoods Group of Companies at the time of accepting the post of High Commissioner.
Arriving at the palace with four other Sri Lankan diplomats in a horse and carriage provided by the Palace, Dr Nonis had a lengthy and cordial discussion with the Queen. At the outset Dr. Nonis presented the compliments of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Queen and mentioned that Sri Lanka was looking forward to welcoming her at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting scheduled to be held here in 2013.
Queen Elizabeth recalled fondly her three previous visits to Sri Lanka especially her visit to Nuwara Eliya. The Queen praised the progress of youth and educational projects implemented under the Commonwealth, and commended the work of Dr. Nonis for the Commonwealth as the Deputy Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
Following this, a reception was held at the High Commission to receive Dr. Nonis. Parliamentarians from the House of Lords, House of Commons, senior officials of the British Foreign and Commonwealth office, High Commissioners and Ambassadors from the Diplomatic Corps based in London and many other VIPs attended the event where guests were entertained by the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and live opera.
Diplomatic Corps Vice Marshall, Simon Martin proposing the toast to President Rajapaksa said they were pleased that the Sri Lanka had appointed a high commissioner who had a wide knowledge about Britain and its people.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Nonis said that Sri Lanka has achieved peace under the leadership of President Rajapaksa and now had in place reconciliation and development programmes. He requested the diaspora and other well wishers of Sri Lanka to actively get involved in the on going economic and social development efforts, especially to achieve growth with equity and ensure the peace dividend accrues to the rural areas as well.
Dr Nonis emphasised that rather than being influenced by adverse media campaigns by a few interested groups, he invited all those in Britain to personally visit Sri Lanka to observe the facts and ascertain for themselves the substantial progress made by Sri Lanka in the post conflict era.
Dr. Nonis is the youngest High Commissioner appointed by Sri Lanka to Britain.