Although the diplomatic stations wouldn’t be full fledged and completely staffed as the office in Bridgetown, the members proposed that the presence of an American Foreign Service Officer and a permanent mission in the following countries; Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines would end the hardship inflicted on nationals who seek to carry out business in Barbados to wit Visas and Green cards.
The committee also feels that this will benefit American business executives.
In a press release submitted by the CUOPM, it stated that resolution made by Barbados; calling for the offices was approved by a voice vote on Capitol Hill, garnering bi-partisan support. The effort was engineered by US Congressman Eliot Engel, Democrat of the Bronx, with full support from Republican Connie Mack, of Florida.
The two congress officials cited that the new embassies should take pattern of the US mission in Grenada. The office in Grenada reports to the US Ambassador or Chargé d’Affaires in Barbados and where a Foreign Service Officer and few local employees sit on staff.
The press release also made mention of a statement to the Foreign Affairs panel, by Engel, who represents thousands of Caribbean Immigrants including Kittitians and Nevisians who live in the Bronx and Westchester County. Engel, sought to list several reasons to support the case for the missions, which included
– In order to meet with local officials, private businesses or civil society, American diplomats must fly to the islands from Barbados or Washington, often on expensive, infrequent flights and stay overnight in expensive hotels.
– Americans living in the countries don’t have a fully accredited consular staff to assist them in the event of an emergency.
– Key national events and meetings “often pass with no American presence”.
– Close working relationships with key leaders “never develop because our diplomats are not there to establish them”.
– American diplomatic activities were “limited to phones, emails and faxes, when the best interaction is often carried out in person”.
– Venezuela and Cuba have established embassies in all of the countries involved, so the United States was “behind the diplomatic eight-ball because we are simply” not in the countries.
A Brazilian and Taiwanese Embassy have already been established in the federation St. Kitts and Nevis.