The New Today
Local News

Under-staffed embassy in Washington

Ambassador Yolande Smith – almost a lone figure running the embassy in the U.S capital city

A prominent Grenadian in the United States has raised concerns about the shortage of staff at the island’s Embassy in the U.S capital city of Washington D.C with the Ambassador Yolande Smith having to double up at times and serve as the telephone operator.

“The Grenada Embassy is the worst of all the Caribbean embassies,” said the local who is often in contact with the diplomatic outpost.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY on the weekend, the Grenadian accused the Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George of allowing the Grenada Embassy in Washington to become “heavily under-staffed” which is impacting on the island’s image among foreign diplomats.

“Grenada looks horrible,” he said, and quickly added that the Washington Embassy “is not properly staffed”.

According to the Grenadian, he has often called the Embassy and much to his surprise the Ambassador is the one answering the phone and not another staff member as is the case with several other embassies run by other governments in the Eastern Caribbean.

“When I call the embassy I don’t need the ambassador answering the phone. I need to get a staff. If I am calling on business I need to get a staff. How the hell the Ambassador is answering phone?

He charged that the only embassy in Washington which is so badly under-staffed in Washington is Grenada and called on Foreign Affairs Minister Oliver Joseph to tell the Grenadian people how many persons are working at the mission.

There appears to be one other member of staff apart from the Ambassador at the Grenada Embassy in Washington.

The Grenadian said: “She (Ambassador Smith) doesn’t have a Charge D’affaires, a First Officer. They have given her nothing. The Ambassador doesn’t have a driver. She’s doing a good job – the Ambassador is organised – she’s really doing a good job. She is really good and managing with the limited resources that she has”.

He noted that islands like St Vincent & The Grenadines within the OECS grouping have alternatives in their embassies to assist their ambassadors to attend the many formal meetings of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Washington but Grenada is at a serious disadvantage with nothing in place.

“How are you going to run an Embassy with just an Ambassador and just one other staff member? You are going to OAS meetings and you don’t have alternates – something (is) wrong with that picture,” he remarked.

The overseas-based Grenadian referred to an important meeting which Ambassador Smith had to attend at an international hotel in Washington known as the Metropolitan Club in Washington and it was very embarrassing.

“Our Ambassador had to bomb a ride with the Vincentian ambassador because she was going to take the Uber back. She has an embassy vehicle but apparently doesn’t have a budget to hire a driver for the embassy.” he said.

He spoke of seeing the Vincentian Ambassador pulling up in a BMW vehicle with her driver to give Ambassador Smith a ride back to the Grenada Embassy.

“…The driver is standing outside, when she (Vincentian) Ambassador comes out, he lets her in and she offered to take our Ambassador back to the embassy. That’s not good for Grenada’s image. So you want to tell me St Vincent got more money than Grenada?”

The Grenadian suggested that the ruling New National Party (NNP) government in St George should consider posting some civil servants in Washington D.C as in past years under previous government to allow the Embassy to provide better representation but expressed fears that this might not be a “priority” of the regime at the Botanical Gardens.

If you are satisfied with the information provided by The New Today to our many readers, followers and supporters around the world, then you can show your appreciation by making a financial contribution to the effort of our team of dedicated workers.

Giving back is a way of saying thank you for our efforts

Support The New Today