The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware of messages circulating in social media regarding the termination of some Bahamian Honorary Consuls in various countries. At least one of the messages claims that the termination has caused them financial hardship and they are owed monies by the Government. The Ministry wishes to inform that provisions for the appointment of Honorary Consuls are made in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Governments tend to use such persons to represent them if they do not have full-fledged diplomatic or consular representation established in a country. They may be nationals of the country that appoints them, or they may be nationals of the country in which they reside.
Honorary Consuls are usually persons of means and influence in the country where they reside, and they perform their services free of charge, i.e., they are not paid a salary. In exceptional cases, a government may pay a nominal stipend to help support their offices, depending on the volume of work and activity in the jurisdiction where they are located. The relationship between the Government and an Honorary Consul is set out in a letter of appointment that explains in detail the functions to be performed. It is expected that the Honorary Consul will perform the duties ascribed to him/her.
Honorary Consuls are great assets to help carry out the interest of the Government abroad. The Bahamas values the Honorary Consuls who have served over the years, and the Government has consistently expressed appreciation to them. In the case of The Bahamas, the vast majority of the Honorary Consuls provides their services free of charge. There is a very small number of them to whom the Government provides a small stipend because of the volume or nature of the work in their jurisdictions. There are no Bahamian Honorary Consuls to whom monies are owed at this time.
A comprehensive audit was recently undertaken of the Honorary Consuls appointed by The Bahamas, and it was determined that some posts would be retained, and others not. The Ministry is satisfied that all proper steps have been taken with respect to the Honorary Consuls serving The Bahamas overseas. The Bahamas owes a debt of gratitude to all Honorary Consuls who have performed over the years, as well as those who continue and are willing to represent the Government and people of The Bahamas.