The large Grenadian population in New York – estimated at more than 100,000 – has had consular services available to them locally since independence in 1974 and, according to those attending the meeting, a consulate office in the city is important for the following reasons:
• Representation is needed at a state and city level in New York;
• To disseminate information relevant to issues affecting nationals;
• As a local resource for citizens in case of emergency, e.g. immigration issues, deportation, arrests, etc;
• To deal with applications for passport issue and renewal locally instead of some other place far away where passports may fall into the hands of criminal elements;
• Grenadian nationals living in New York feel vulnerable and open, with no representation, and fears that they are open to unwanted diplomatic and immigration problems.
The recent news that Grenada is to open a consulate in Miami Beach, Florida, later this month has exacerbated concerns in New York that Florida is being given priority, when New York is the hub and serves a population of 100,000-plus, while Florida has a Grenadian population of just 5,000.