LONDON: The UK’s new home secretary, Suella Braverman, has proud relatives in Goa, Delhi, and Cyprus. Braverman, who traces her father Christie Fernandes’ roots to Sokolwaddo, Assagao, and grandmother’s roots to Calangute, has visited Goa on very few occasions. Her last visit was several years ago, when she accompanied her parents to the Dr Ribeiro Goan School reunion held in Goa.
Christie had studied in the school in Kenya before migrating to London. Christie, the eldest of five siblings who were all born in Kenya, was the only one who migrated to London from Kenya in the 1960s, while the rest of the family came to Goa. He lost one sibling who was working in Delhi. Two of his sisters live in Goa and Cyprus with their families, and his brother is a priest in the Archdiocese of Delhi. “We are very proud of her. She has always been a smart girl and always had her hopes high,” said Suella’s aunt. “She always had ambition and it’s an honour for us Goans and for her extended family here,” one of her cousins toldTOI.
Suella’s uncle, Fr Ayres Fernandes, director of a retreat centre in Okhla, Delhi, says he is not surprised at Suella’s rise in politics. “She got a taste of politics from her mother. My brother too was an activist and was always well read. He was a good orator too. Public speaking runs in the family,” he told TOI. Fr Ayres shares his birthday — April 3 — with Suella and recalls her being unassuming and soft spoken during her visits to Goa. “She’s straight forward and people like that. . . She has the desire and capability to climb higher. ”