February 18, 2014

Let us not be hindered by avoidable distractions

Tue Feb 18, 2013

The discussions over the past week since the recall of New York based Deputy Consul General Edson Augustus have seen much of public opinion focussed on the operations of our overseas missions, including the New York Consulate.{{more}}

Above the charges and counter-charges surrounding the specific case in question, it was clear that some of the expressed concerns reflected a strong appreciation for the importance of these missions to the Vincentian overseas communities; and to representation of the Vincentian economic and socio-political interests abroad. They further appear to reflect the view that these roles need to be increasingly strengthened and not hindered by avoidable distractions.

The overseas Vincentian communities: in New York where the biggest Vincentian community anywhere is said to reside, London, Toronto and elsewhere, are becoming increasingly empowered, more locked into developments back home, and are demonstrating greater passion for involvement in the economic, social and political development of their homeland. They increasingly operate as an extension of the national landscape, with contributions through remittances and investments, which make them a major factor in national development. State provision of consular services is key to these binding ties, and will clearly come under increased scrutiny, from personnel selection to on the ground performance.

Countries now look increasingly to overseas missions for active leadership in the search for economic oportunities. This country has been widening its diplomatic footprint beyond traditional friends to embrace new allies. The pursuit of this development mandate, in every respect, will also come under close scrutiny, as the people look for increased results in the search for partners in development.

The country benefits from this more focussed attention on these overseas missions.