By Aabigayle McIntosh
The US Ambassador for the OECS and Barbados has cautioned that the establishment of two new embassies within the region would take some time more like another year or two.
Ambassador Linda Tagliatela explained that the approval would have to come from the US Congress and several factors have to be considered before this could take place.
“We have an embassy in Grenada that is staffed by one American that is considered a principal officer to which I am accredited as the Ambassador. So, the question is do we do this in two other countries or do we create embassies with Ambassadors within them?
“The United States is committed to two new embassies, the question is doing the analysis and figuring out the best locations and what that looks like to the United States. They are looking at the options, doing some studies, and will be presenting this to Congress”.
The Antigua and Barbudan government has openly expressed the desire for the embassy to be located here.
Just last week Chief of Staff in the office of Prime Minister Lionel Hurst told reporters that the government has designated a plot of land for use by the US government, ahead of an announcement on the two Eastern Caribbean countries that will be selected for an embassy.
“We have established an Embassy Row on Marble Hill. The Chinese have built an embassy there [and] the Indians have asked us to set aside an acre of land on which they will build a residence and very likely some offices.
“The Dominican Republic has also been granted a piece of land there to construct an embassy at some point in the future. We believe that the United States may wish to do that as well.
“So, we have set aside a piece of land for the United States, and it may wish to build, or it may wish to do as some other embassies here have done, which is to rent a space that is adequate”, Hurst said.
The opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) also welcomed the possibility of Antigua and Barbuda being selected.