KINGSTON — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, has urged regional Consular representatives to play a more enhanced and targeted role in advancing foreign policy.
Dr. Baugh, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, was speaking at the World Federation of Consuls (FICAC) Caribbean Regional Consular Conference, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, today (July 25), under the theme: 'Enhancing Intra-Caribbean Relations'.
The Minister challenged the Ambassadors, Consuls and other Consular representatives that in their discussions on negotiating an amendment to the Vienna Convention to underline the value and role of the worldwide network of honorary consuls, they should consider how they can better contribute to a number of broad areas.
These, he said, include: boosting intra-Caribbean trade; fostering investment in agro-processing and trade in services; improving intra-regional transportation of people and goods; engaging in the new growth area of cultural and sporting industries, which have been identified as critical realms for Jamaica and several CARICOM states.
The Minister said the representatives should also consider "examining the changing nature of your own role, both in economic and trade policy, especially in our Caribbean region."
"You are called to make a new commitment to represent the sending state on a variety of complex issues, which go beyond the normal role of the Consul," Dr. Baugh told the representatives.
While commending the Consular representatives for the role they have, and continue to play in foreign relations, Dr. Baugh said there is a clear purpose for FICAC, "a purpose whose pursuit is even more urgent for the Caribbean region. We must strive to build a unified way, conscious of the mantle that has been passed on to us, and looking to the future that we must shape for generations yet unborn."
Meanwhile, President of FICAC Caribbean Region and Dean of the Consular Corps of Jamaica, Hon. Arnold Foote explained that the Federation aims to promote and strengthen mutual understanding between honorary Consuls and career Consuls worldwide, and to develop a framework and basis for exchange of current information, ideas and suggestions, regarding matters related to the office of the honorary Consul.
He added that the organisation also aims to promote, at the national and international levels, a better understanding of the duties and responsibilities, rights and privileges of the honorary Counsul; and the promotion of trade at the local and global levels.
The FICAC was established in 1982 in Copenhagen,Denmark, to bring together consular corps and associations, share experiences and co-ordinate efforts to enhance the effectiveness and status of the Consul. The Federation is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
The FICAC's highest honour, the FICAC Award of Distinction, and a citation were presented to Dr. Baugh for his sterling contribution to the foreign service.