On Sunday, December 19th 2021, at 5pm, the cream of the west coast’s elite hoteliers and business community gathered to celebrate one of their own. With a guestlist including the French Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Monsieur Olivier Guyonvarch; members of the highly-influential Negril Chamber of Commerce (NCC); Lee Issa, Chairman of Couples Resorts; Damian Salmon, proprietor of the Skylark and Rockhouse hotels and Westmoreland Western local MP, Morland Wilson. Well-known content creator, YouTuber Winthrope ‘Throp’ Wellington was the emcee for the evening’s festivities. Various other local dignitaries, lifelong friends, and, of course, family all congregated to celebrate the installation of Sophie Roumel as French Honorary Consul to Jamaica.
A prestigious title, the new role sees Ms Roumel installed as the French government’s representative in Negril, Jamaica, second only to the Ambassador himself. With her deep ties to the area, Sophie, alongside her father, Daniel Grizzle (Jamaica OD, 2021) is better-known as the prominent co-owner of the award-winning boutique hotel, Charela Inn, and, in recent years, a keen environmental champion for the parish and surrounding areas.
None of this information was overlooked by the guest of honour, the newly-installed French Ambassador, His Excellency Guyonvarch, who commented, “To be nominated Honorary Consul to France is not by chance. To be chosen means that you have been here for more than 30 years. Sophie remains a wonderful host, runs a successful business and a lot of foreign and French citizens here have seen how you have always dedicated yourself to represent a bright, smiling and wonderful image of France.” He finished up by stating: “Sophie is also able to help French citizens if they happen to get into trouble in Negril, as we are very far from Kingston. We need you, Sophie,” he finished.
As the evening progressed, a resplendent and emotional Ms Roumel took time to detail her own history, her father Daniel’s legacy, and the excitement and deep honour that her new position represented. “As far as I am concerned this is a step in just an expansion of the long history between France and Jamaica. We value French culture, the French language, and French food. Come to our (Le Vendôme) restaurant and understand that Charela Inn is an oasis of French Jamaican hospitality open to all locals and international visitors,” she added.
“I just want to say how important this role as Honorary Consul is to me and I will seek to strengthen the ties between Jamaica and France from my position here in Negril. I will cherish this forever, ” she concluded. Daniel Grizzle, who was also recognized for his Order of Distinction, reminisced, “We are more than a community. We are a large family. That’s the way we were from the beginning.” Mr. Grizzle presented a special award to his daughter and co-owner Charmaine Bowen, who began working at Charela Inn the day they opened their doors in 1980 and is still working there today.