Congressional panel urges US missions for Eastern Caribbean

(Barbados Nation) A key United states Congressional panel wants Washington to set up diplomatic missions in every Eastern Caribbean island-nation, instead of having everything done by the American Embassy in Barbados.

Although the diplomatic outposts wouldn’t be full-fledged and fully staffed as in Bridgetown, the committee believes the presence of an American Foreign Service Officer and a permanent mission in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia, St Kitts-Nevis and St Vincent would end the hardship imposed on American business executives and US citizens in those islands as well as those countries’ nationals now forced to travel to Barbados for visas and other services.

A resolution 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 Representative Connie Mack, a Republican of Florida.

Both insisted that the new embassies should be patterned off the US mission in Grenada which reports to the US Ambassador or chargé d’affaires in Barbados and is staffed by a single Foreign Service Officer and a few locally recruited employees.

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