Consular and Diaspora Division
The Consular function has historically been linked to the development of international trade (commercial diplomacy), and to promoting the economic interests of nation states. Consular responsibilities have evolved over time to include a range of services, including the protection of citizens in foreign countries. The Government of Barbados is committed to the preservation of consular relations, and adheres to its general principles which are codified in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963.
The core responsibilities of the Consular Division include:
- Assistance to Barbadians stranded overseas without access to consular resources;
- The establishment of guidelines for the recruitment, review and renewal of Honorary Consuls of Barbados overseas;
- Preparation of policy papers for the establishment of Visa Waiver Agreements;
- Facilitation of Barbadians travelling on government business with foreign visas;
- Collaborating with stakeholder organizations on deportations and extraditions;
- Advising the Government of Barbados on enhancing its incentive programmes geared toward the diaspora;
- Building sustainable networks with the Barbadian diaspora and the resettlement community.
Services provided by the Consular Division include: Nationals in Distress; Arrested Nationals; Deportation of Barbadian Nationals; Extradition/Enforcement of Court Orders; Application for Passports
Guidelines for the Appointment, Retention and Cessation of Consular representation Appointment
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade accepts nominations of candidates to serve as Honorary Consul of Barbados from a reputable authority other than the candidate;
- The Ministry reviews each application and transmits the details to its local and international security partners for vetting;
- In cases where the prospective Honorary Consul is located in a jurisdiction represented by an overseas Mission, the latter is invited to interview the candidate;
- Upon completion of the review process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade submits a Cabinet Paper with its recommendation of candidate. The Cabinet decision informs the Ministry of its next steps;
- The Cabinet’s approval of the candidate ushers the preparation of a Commission of Appointment;
- The Commission of Appointment is signed, sealed and submitted by Savingram to the overseas Mission responsible for overseeing the activities of the Honorary Consul. The Ministry seeks the accreditation of the host country where the Honorary Consul is resident. When the host country approves the accreditation of the Honorary Consul an Exequatur is issued, and the Honorary Consul is registered as a consular representative of Barbados;
- The Ministry is responsible for preparing an Information Kit containing the Tools required for the Honorary Consul to function. These include official stamps, seals and flags. The overseas Missions are also similarly equipped to provide Honorary Consuls with the tools of the office;
- The Honorary Consul is required to provide the Ministry and Missions with a business address, telephone number, and other coordinates where the representative may be contacted. The information must be updated periodically to maintain accuracy;
- The Ministry insists that the Honorary Consul have an official address, a building or facility which can be identified by Citizens of Barbados or clients wishing to access information or consular services. The Ministry will not accept virtual offices as an alternative to an Honorary Consulate;
- Notice of the appointment of Honorary Consuls is to be circulated to all Barbados overseas Missions, and Government Ministries and Departments. Thereafter, the information is forwarded to the Government Printery to be published in the Official Gazette;
- Appointments to the position of Honorary Consuls are valid for a specified period, and subject to renewal based upon performance.
Primary Functions of the Honorary Consul
- Tourism and Cultural promotion;
- Identify investment/commercial/business opportunities;
- Extension of courtesies to Government officials/delegations, and where necessary assist Barbadian business people to access commercial networks;
- Provide information on key legislative and political developments in the jurisdiction, including industry trends which could impact on Barbados’ interests;
- Consular facilitation to Barbadian citizens, especially persons in distress;
- Facilitation of consular services, namely transmission of passport and visa applications to Barbados.
Reports of Honorary Consuls
Performance reports are to be submitted quarterly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. The reports are forwarded with an accompanying report of the Mission overseeing the activities of the Honorary Consul and submitted to the Cabinet for review.
Cessation of Consular Duties
- Where the Honorary Consul has been inactive for a prolonged period, and the Ministry in consultation with the Missions consider that his/her service should be terminated, a recommendation is made to the Cabinet;
- In the event that there is a termination of the Honorary Consul, the latter is informed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade by official correspondence. Similarly, the Honorary Consul may at any time, indicate his/her intention to demit office by letter to the Permanent Secretary. Honorary Consuls upon their termination are required to return all seals, stamps and official documents within a period of thirty (30) days;
- All Missions, Government Ministries and Departments are notified of the cessation of consular representation. The notice is also registered in the Government’s Official Gazette.
One of the hallmark initiatives of the Consular Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is the Barbados Network programme, formerly referred to as the Returning National programme.