St Vincent and the Grenadines have become the first CARICOM country to establish a consular office in the British Virgin Islands, with Vincentian Bishop Ishmael Charles being appointed as the first honorary consul.
Effectively, a consul is an official appointed by the government of one country to look after its commercial interests and the welfare of its citizens in another country.
Bishop Charles was named as the consul during the live virtual opening ceremony of the consular office on Friday, October 16.
He is a well-known figure in the territory and has resided in the BVI for more than 40 years. He said he is honoured and grateful for the opportunity to serve in the dignitary role.
According to Premier Andrew Fahie, Bishop Charles’ duties as an honourary consul is to promote the economic interest of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the British Virgin Islands.
“He will identify and facilitate opportunities for development of business relation trade, commerce tourism, culture and employment.”
“He will assist nationals of St Vincent and the Grenadines visiting and residing in the Virgin Islands and he will enhance the friendly and cordial relations existing between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Virgin Islands,” he added.
More than 2000 Vincentians in the BVI
Premier Fahie also said that St Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the countries in the region to which the BVI has a special relationship.
With more than 2,000 Vincentian nationals presently in the BVI, the Premier said the partnership is one that will also have many benefits to the BVI economy.
“Of the many nationalities represented, we have more Vincentians living and working with here than any other country grouping. They are our friends, neighbours, husbands, wives, children and even our bishop,” Fahie stated.
He added: “I am pleased to officially take steps to deepen the level of cooperation between our governments by collaborating to develop opportunity for trade, in areas such as agriculture, manufacturing, goods and indeed services.”
Hopes to further strengthen relationship with BVI
Meanwhile, St Vincent’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Commerce, Sir Louis Straker expressed his gratitude to the BVI for allowing Vincentians the opportunity over the years to migrate and improve their lifestyle.
With the historic partnership, Sir Straker said he is looking forward to the further strengthening of the relationship between the two nations which will have a positive economic impact on both countries.
“We want to look towards the future where we can have an active trading relationship with the British Virgin Islands where we can have the requisite transportation facilities.
Boats that can bring our agriculture produce from St Vincent to the British Virgin Islands equipped with refrigeration so that the people there in the British Virgin Islands would be able to get off the produce here in as good a condition as possible.”
“We will also like to link together in our educational quest, whereby we can have a partnership with the British Virgin Islands that some of your students can come to us and some of our students can come to you. You are famous for your hospitality and your schools of training in that area,” he added.
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