Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister Lionel Hurst[/caption]
Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister Lionel Max Hurst is disappointed that the United States did not use a grand reception at Jumby Bay Wednesday night to announce which two OECS countries will be selected to have a consulate office.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne had said that he is optimistic that Antigua and Barbuda will be one of the countries of choice, given the work that it had done over the years
The US held an event to celebrate 247 years of the USA’s Independence but the country of choice was not announced at that forum.
There was a wide expectation that the US Embassy would announce where the two other visa-issuing US Consulates will be placed.
“We were disappointed. We thought the US Ambassador would announce which two countries are going to receive US consulates that would enable those seeking visas to have it issued here. That announcement was not forthcoming so we are going to have to wait a little longer,” Hurst said
Meanwhile, Hurst said if Antigua and Barbuda is selected, the US Embassy may want to look at having its building on Marble Hill; an area that has become somewhat of an embassy zone.
“The Chinese have built an embassy there, the Indians have asked us to set aside an acre of land on which they will build a residence and offices, the Dominican Republic has been given a piece of land to construct an embassy at some point in the future. I believe the US may wish to do that as well”, he said
“We have set aside a piece of land for the US and it may wish to build, or do what other embassies here have done and rent a space that is adequate that could meet all its requirements”, Hurst explained
Meanwhile United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda Taglialatela says a decision on where the two new US embassies will be located in the Eastern Caribbean is at least 18 months away.
“Antigua is a hub for many airlines and it is a good place to be. Each of the islands has its pros and cons. The embassy will provide input to Washington but it would be Washingtons’ decision”, she said
The US closed its embassy in Antigua in 1990.