GREAT BAY – The hassle of getting important documents mailed and processed by Guyanese residing on St. Maarten to and from Guyana will be a thing of the past now that Cleveland Edgar Beresford has been appointed as the resident honorary consul of Guyana on St. Maarten.
Beresford, who is not a career official was appointed to the Supervisory Board at the Princess Juliana International Airport in 2013 and has been residing on the island for the past 47 years. The Government of Guyana recently appointed him as honorary consul.
With this development, the window of opportunity is now open for bilateral relations in trade, education, scientific, cultural and investment possibilities to be established between the two countries.
“This will certainly help to unify the Guyanese residents living here as well as those living in the surrounding islands,” Beresford said during an interview. However, this is not something new, it was a process in the making.
“I was officially appointed last July, but because of the important requirements, it took time. I have been living in the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and now St. Maarten so they needed a certificate of good conduct and that took considerable time,” Beresford said.
According to Beresford, the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Guyana has since contacted him for verification of identification which he did. In addition to that, he also had to present the documentation with respect to the registration of the St. Maarten Guyanese Association.
However, taking up the roll as an Honorary Consul is certainly not a walk in the park, according to Beresford, he still has to undergo training. “I am yet to meet more stakeholders, but in my discussions with the members of the Public Service Commission, they are all interested in visiting St Maarten and they too have welcomed the new move.”
Beresford has the authority to issue birth certificates, passports along with other legal procedures which he is yet to be informed on. “In cases of Guyanese residing requesting to have their birth certificates stamped, I am yet to have that addressed during my next visit.”
In his recent official meeting with Prime Minister William Marlin, Beresford said one of the topics raised was the location of a permanent office; however he is yet to be notified on availability.
“I just want something located in Philipsburg that can accommodate one staff member and myself, but it must also have space for a boardroom where discussions can take place,” he said.
He noted that in the interim, the staff member will only be required to work on a part time basis until it becomes justifiable for him to have that person on a full time basis. “I have already done since my appointment 325 passports, I want the people to know that it will cost $80,00 to have a passport replaced.”
With the new oil discovery in Guyana, Beresford is of the opinion that the country will be in a better position to attract foreign investors along with the wealth of natural resources the country has been blessed with.
“I am going to open up investment possibilities between St. ` Maarten and Guyana, that is my number one priority. But I also want to see the Guyanese people living here moving forward.” Cleaveland Edgar Beresford
The Honorary (Hon) consul is one of the actors of international relations. In the overwhelming majority of cases consuls serve in the country of which they are a citizen (the receiving or host country) and support the interests of the citizens and legal entities of another country (the sending country or state), as well as serving commercial and economic interests with the official agreement of the sending state. Further, they can play an important role in stimulating cultural, educational, scientific relations or sport and tourism.
The basis of his/her appointment generally takes into consideration the individual’s personal prestige, influence, integrity, stability of assets as well as certain commitment to the sending state. Material allowances are not usually partaken in lieu of the consul’s activities.
International regulations governed by the universal Vienna Convention on Consular Relations passed in Vienna on April 24, 1963 were incorporated into Hungarian law in the 13th statutory decree of 1987. Besides this, the regulations are guaranteed by the 2/1995 Foreign Ministerial Decree and the 4/1995 Foreign Ministerial Mandate. In respect of honorary consuls, Hungarian legal regulations follow international law.