Monday, August 8, 2022
Monday, August 8, 2022
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After confirming his recall in an official letter circulated to “colleagues” last Tuesday, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consul General to the United States Howie Prince says the administration of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves did not give him any reason or reasons for his return to Kingstown.

“I was not given any reason for my recall,” Prince, who served almost six years as Consul General to the US, told THE VINCENTIAN in an interview. “Cabinet has the authority to appoint and recall.”

He disclosed that he was on an annual contract that was renewed at the end of May and that, this year, the government sent him a notice in late May that he will be on a month-by-month until further notice.

“On 24th June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent notice that the government will recall me, and July 31 will be my last day,” Prince said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve. Retirement is what I proceed to do. I turn 60 on May 21. Time to move on.”In his official letter, circulated widely to “colleagues” in the Diaspora and also dispatched to THE VINCENTIAN, Prince said, inter alia, that the administration has replaced him with popular soca artiste Rondy “Luta” McIntosh, who has no apparent diplomatic or civil service experience. (See more details on Prince’s letter)

Reviewing his tenure

Though he will demit office on July 31, Prince disclosed in THE VINCENTIAN interview that he will be on “some paid leave” until end-August, when he will return home where he will take “some much-needed R&R (rest and relaxation) for a while” after which he will decide what he wants to do.

In terms of his accomplishments as Consul General to the US, he said he “mended some broken relations between the Consulate and the Diaspora.

 “We’ve established relationships with all the groups in the Diaspora,” he said. “I worked with these groups. I gave them letters of credentials to say they’re authentic in what they do to redound to the benefit of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

But Prince said the highlight of his tenure was “what we were able to accomplish in relations to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and COVID-19,” stating that “we sent home over 5,000 PPEs (personal protective equipment) – masks, other things, gowns.”

In addition, he said the Consulate General worked with Diaspora groups and businesses in dispatching to Kingstown container-filled relief supplies amid the explosive eruptions of La Soufriere volcano. 

Prince also said that, over his tenure, the Consulate was able to secure and dispatch to Kingstown five fire trucks, obtained from Ohio and Kentucky, among other US states.

Forging ahead

When asked about grumblings, in some quarters, about his performance, Prince said: “I have not heard about these grumblings. There will always be detractors. You forge ahead in what you have to do.

“I think I have positioned the Consulate to provide the most efficacious service to St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said. “I can’t say anybody has been turned away for any service.

“While other (Caribbean) Consulates closed down (during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic), St. Vincent and the Grenadines was providing service,” he added. “I’m confident the Consulate worked in the best interest in the Diaspora. I’m satisfied that we accomplished that mandate. I commend the staff of the Consulate for their hard work and for support during these five years.

“I prefer to highlight the good we’ve done,” Prince stressed. “I think there’s enough done. There has not been any controversy. I came, I did the job I was appointed to do, as best as possible. I am grateful for the job I was given.

     “As I turn a new chapter, we turn over to the new Consul General,” he continued. “I came graciously, and I want to leave graciously.”

  Prince – a good replacement

On the recall in August 2016 of Prince’s immediate predecessor, Selmon Walters, a former government minister, Dr. Gonsalves said that his administration had “found a good replacement” in Prince.

“Howie Prince knows how to work with people,” he said then. “It’s difficult to find a person to work with the community.

“He (Prince) has a good temperament,” he added. “I think people in New York will like Howie Prince.”

 Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sir Louis Straker had told THE VINCENTIAN in August 2016 that Prince possessed “outstanding” managerial skills and experience, adding that Prince “will be good for the country.”

Regarding the appointment of McIntosh as Prince’s successor, some in the Vincentian community in New York have already begun voicing objection over his qualifications.

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