St Vincent and the Grenadines becomes first Caribbean nation to establish a Consulate General in Northern Ireland
ST Vincent and the Grenadines has become the first Caribbean nation to establish a Consulate General in Northern Ireland.
The full resident diplomatic presence will be located in Comber, Co Down, a town with historical links to the West Indies.
Vincentian, Dr Christopher Stange has been appointed Consul General and said the decision is "part of a wider commitment to the diplomatic network to further international relations".
"Northern Ireland has been identified as an emerging market with an increasing Caribbean community, peace and stability, coinciding with 2018 marking the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement," he said.
It was welcomed by David Sterling, head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service who said they are "looking forward to learning more about each other and opportunities for co-operation".
Northern Ireland hosted the first international cricket league fixture at Stormont against the West Indies in 2017 and hosted St Vincent and the Grenadines's Olympic and Commonwealth athletes in the run up to the London Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
In addition to links with 19th century Comber war hero Major General Rollo Gillespie who fought against the French in the West Indies, families in the town were very strongly represented in the pro-abolition and anti-slavery movement (boycotting sugar, etc).
It is also a Fairtrade town, which directly benefits Caribbean developing world farmers, which includes many Fairtrade accredited churches and schools, some linked with schools in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.