Security Staff Scrutinize Guests at Reception for President Sergio Mattarella

By Ray Culos

It was akin to being in a James Bond 007 movie as one moved through the tight security protocols that were in place, at the Italian Cultural Centre last Friday June 30th 2017, to ensure a safe and festive occasion for the visit of the Italian President.
A contingent of men in dark suits, most wearing sunglasses, could be seen patrolling the grounds and buildings. They were quite recognizable really as they regularly adjusted their special frequency ear phones to confirm with their colleagues the status of the situation.
Strict adherence to the list of registered guests, possession of a personalized invitation and government issued photo ID were prerequisites. In addition, bags, cameras and other bulky effects were checked.
Finally, with arms outstretched, a successful wand-body-scan earned one passage into the main hall.
Thanks to the organizational aplomb of the Consul General Massimiliano Iacchini and his enlightened staff, all protocols were adhered to without incident; that is, none to which I am privy.
It was an invitation only spectacular that invoked patriotic fervor unprecedented in our community in recent decades. Following introductions by ICC’s Executive Director Mauro Vescera and the singing of the Canadian and Italian national anthems, President Sergio Mattarella addressed the capacity crowd of well-wishers.
He commended Canada for welcoming Italian immigrants over its long and accepting history and voiced confidence that this accommodation would continue.
He praised expatriates, including those among them who have contributed significantly to the growth and prosperity of their adopted country.
In so doing, the President of the Italian Republic acknowledged Cavaliere Luigi Aquilini, a locally recognized Canadian entrepreneur of record who epitomizes the mettle of the Italian immigrant to whom Mr. Mattarella was referring.
At the conclusion of his address President Mattarella, accompanied by his entourage and festooned by a plethora of discrete and ubiquitous security agents, enthralled the assembled guests with a mini walk-about.
Co-host Consul General Iacchini, who possess an impressive memory for names and faces, introduced the President to a number of the invitees including many of the leading and active members of the Italian Cultural Centre Society all of whom were eager to shake his hand.
Under the supervision of Fabio Rasotto, the stalwart and proficient catering manager, an excellent assortment of food and beverages were provided which served to complement a most entertaining, enjoyable and patriotically laced social event.

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