US Consular Agent To Move
At the opening of the United States (US) Consular Agent's new office, the US Ambassador to Jamaica warmly toasted the "enduring friendship between the people and government of the United States and the people and government of the Cayman Islands". Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater and Deputy Governor Hon. Franz Manderson, Cert. Hon., JP, jointly snipped a ribbon to open the new office with multiple features, at Cayman Centre on Smith Road, Grand Cayman, on Thursday, 19 September 2013.
Consul General Michael Schimmel, conducting a tour of the office, explained the various features including a vault to secure, on behalf of relatives, the local assets of intestate US citizens who pass away in the Cayman Islands. Last year, there were 17 deaths and 70 births of US citizens in the Cayman Islands, he said.
There is also a facility to better cater to emotionally distraught US citizens seeking the consular agency's services.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Bridgewater highlighted the close cooperation between her country and the Cayman Islands on several matters, notably law enforcement, security and legal jurisdiction of children.
She noted that the new, better equipped and secured facility would enhance how the local consular agency engages and works with US citizens. Matters include passports, registration of births as well as services for US citizens who break local laws and are imprisoned.
Since the US is the tertiary education destination of choice for a large number of Caymanian and resident students, Government Information Services (GIS) asked about the possibility of enhancing local services to these US student-visa seekers, similar to services provided by the UK for UK visas at the local Biometric Clinic. The Ambassador explained that the uniform and standardised services provided currently for all consular agencies across the globe do not facilitate such the local provision of such specialised services. She added the Kingston Embassy was aware of the matter which had been, and continued to be, discussed.
Expressing his delight at the consular agency's expanded operations, the Deputy Governor said that the humanitarian assistance provided by the US authorities for those wishing to leave the Islands during Hurricane Ivan's aftermath helped further cement the Cayman Islands' relationship with the US. This relationship, he went on to say, has moved "from strength to strength". "The Cayman Islands Government (CIG) looks forward to a continued working relationship with the Consular Agency in the Cayman Islands," he added.
The Ambassador and the Deputy Governor also jointly cut a cake to mark the occasion.
Also in official attendance were Kingston Embassy Public Affairs Officer Christopher Degnan, Consular Agent in the Cayman Islands Gary Montemayor, Ministry of Home Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush, Corporate Manager Christine Wright, ministry and agency staff members and some honorary consuls.
Earlier in the day, the Ambassador had her first meeting with Her Excellency the Governor, Mrs. Helen Kilpatrick, CB.
Later that evening, the Deputy Governor led government attendees at a reception for invited guests hosted by the Ambassador at the Wharf.
Mr. Montemayor explained that services will continue to be provided to US citizens and others by appointment only. The office's new location is Suite 202B Smith Road Centre, 150 Smith Road.
However, the agency continues to function at present location at 118 Dorcy Drive, Unit 1B Cayman Center, Special Consular Services Assistant, Mrs. Jonnie Lochner said. While a specific date for the move to the new office is not yet fixed, the move is expected to take place in October, she added.
The agency's mailing address remains PO Box 12204, Grand Cayman KY1-1010. The office phone is (345) 747-8172 and fax is (345) 945-8192. The web address is: http://kingston.usembassy.gov.
For further information contact: Bina Mani