Sheila Carey, permanent secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs; British High Commissioner Jeremy Cresswell, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham and Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance the Hon. Zhivargo Laing pose for a photocall at the Cabinet Office Monday, November 5, 2007. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen)
By: Lindsay Thompson
NASSAU, Bahamas – Relations between The Bahamas and Britain remain strong despite the closure of the British High Commission office more than a year ago.
This position was re-affirmed by the Government Monday, which welcomed British High Commissioner Jeremy Cresswell to The Bahamas for a two-day visit.
High Commissioner Cresswell, who is stationed in Kingston, Jamaica, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Brent Symonette at Cabinet Office.
It was the High Commissioner’s first opportunity to meet with the newly elected government of The Bahamas.
Discussions centred around the further deepening of diplomatic ties between The Bahamas and Great Britain, particularly since the closure of the British High Commission.
In July 2005, the British Government closed its offices in The Bahamas, citing economic reasons. The British High Commission in Jamaica has been designated oversight for The Bahamas.
“It was a difficult process. The closure of our resident mission here resulted from a global review that we undertook at the time of our various missions throughout the world. We ended up closing quite a number of embassies and few high commissions including here,” High Commissioner Cresswell said.
“The fact that we are not here, in a sense, indicates that we have a relationship which is essentially trouble free,” he continued. “But what I think we do miss is the daily contact, the daily understanding and therefore we have to work even harder to try and make sure that we make the best of our important relationship.”
High Commissioner Cresswell said The Bahamas stands to benefit from a number of agreements under negotiation, being a member of the British Commonwealth.
He emphasized that relations with The Bahamas are not only diplomatic, but include tourism and financial services.
Pointing to the lasting ties between both countries, Minister Symonette pointed out that former British High Commissioner Peter Young is a resident of The Bahamas and is still actively involved in the country. He serves as Honourary Counsul to The Bahamas.
The Bahamas High Commissioner to London is His Excellency Basil O’Brien.