History of the Embassy Consular Annex of The Bahamas
On July 10th, 1973, thousands of Bahamians gathered at Clifford Park to witness the first hoisting of black, gold and aqua flag that proclaimed to the world that the Quiet Revolution had given birth to a new independent nation. A few short months later, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas extended the hand of welcome and exchange to its near north neighbor and erected The Embassy of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas in Washington DC, one of the first diplomatic missions to be established.
When the Embassy was first established, its mission incorporated the international responsibilities typical of diplomatic missions. It served as the Permanent Mission of the Bahamas to the Organization of American States, it assumed responsibility for both Political and Bilateral matters, and Multilateral Matters as well. It was the face of The Bahamas to the people of the United States of America. However, atypically and for the sake of expedience, the Embassy was also entrusted with Consular Matters, that is, with the responsibility of caring for Bahamian citizens who travelled to or resided within the United States.
For the next 40 years this two-fold mission of the Embassy remained in place, and consular matters was conducted under its auspices. However, the vision of the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister Sir Lyndon Pindling, the father of the nation, to open a consular office in the nation capitol of Washington DC, was remembered by those close to him. Even after the passing of the father of the nation, Sir Lyndon's vision for a distinct Consular Mission remain steadfast.
In early 2013, the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, made the decision to carry out the vision of the father of our nation. Toward this end, Prime Minister Christie appointed Paulette Zonicle as the first Consul General of the Bahamas to Washington DC, and charged her with the responsibility of establishing The Bahamas' first Consulate Office in Washington, DC.
The months that followed were a flurry of activities. After months of searching and reviewing, a suitable office space was identified. December 2013 was consumed by the meetings with architects, drawing reviews and permit process required for construction to start. The sun rose on January 1st 2014, to find construction workers, electricians and plumbers busying about the empty space at 1025 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 305. Only 8 short weeks later, on February 28th 2014, the renovators collected their tools and left. The new 4,950 square foot Consulate Office was completed.
The new office opened to the General public 9am March 3rd 2014. This new office will focus on all Consular and Diaspora matters. The office over sees Consular matters in the District of Columbia and over 25 states. With the launch of the new consular office, the Embassy of the Bahamas will be able to focus its efforts to attend to all Political and Bilateral and Multilateral Matters as well as more fully serve its role as the Permanent Mission of The Bahamas to the Organization of American States.