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British High Commission closes Antigua & Barbuda office

British High Commission closes Antigua & Barbuda office

Old May 7th 2008, 5:39 pm
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Default British High Commission closes Antigua & Barbuda office

Article: British High Commission closes Antigua office - by Nikisha Smith
Date: Wednesday May 07th, 2008
Source: www.antiguasun.com - Antigua & Barbuda Sun newspaper

Link: http://www.antiguasun.com/paper/?as=...62008&ac=Local

--The United Kingdom has announced that the High Commission Office in Antigua and Barbuda will be permanently closed as of June.--

The announcement was made yesterday via a media release.

British High Commissioner Terence Knight said the closure came as a result of a review and restructure of the UK’s diplomatic presence over the world and particularly in the Eastern Caribbean. Since that review reportedly took place last December, it suggests that the closure has been in the pipeline for some time.

“It’s been many years but things change and there is a different focus in the foreign office now towards obvious places like Iraq and Afghanistan,” Knight stated.

The final day for public business will be 6 June and the office will finally close on 30 June. Thereafter, all enquiries from members of the public in Antigua and Barbuda will be handled by the British High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados.

“We are closing this office, but the relationship between the UK and Antigua will remain the same except from now on it will be covered from Barbados instead of by someone resident on the island,” Knight stated.

As Antigua’s High Commissioner handled inquiries from St. Kitts as well, their concerns will also move to Barbados.

Last year, the offices in Grenada and St. Vincent were closed as well, so the last remaining offices in the Eastern Caribbean are in Barbados and St. Lucia.

Knight does not envision that the distance will create any problems as the High Commissioner in Barbados will visit frequently and an honorary British consul will be appointed soon to act as the first point of contact for British nationals in Antigua and Barbuda requiring urgent consular assistance.

Knight said once the office is closed, he will be assigned to another diplomatic posting, but he does not know which one at this point. “I wish I did, but that is the name of the game for us diplomats,” he said.

Some donations to the community are planned as the office goes through its closure. He said that reference works and other useful items will be donated to the library and selected charities between now and June.

The release said all visa enquiries should continue to be direct in the normal way to www.visainfoservices.com or www.ukvisas.gov.uk. Contact information for the British High Commission in Bridgetown is as follows: telephone +1(246) 430-7800, fax +1(246) 430-7851, or by e-mail: britishhcb @ sunbeach.net.

British High Commission in Barbados website.
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