By TANEKA THOMPSON
Tribune News Editor
PRIME Minister Perry Christie is considering ambassador appointments to China, India and Brazil, The Tribune understands.
The Tribune has confirmed that Paul Andy Gomez, managing partner of Grant Thornton (Bahamas), is under consideration to be appointed as ambassador to China where he has extensive business contacts.
Attorney Lowell Mortimer is being considered for appointment as non-resident ambassador to India.
When contacted for comment yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said he could not say when the appointments would be made nor was he at liberty to discuss the prime minister’s decision making process.
“At the moment, we don’t have an embassy in Brazil although there are people who lobby for one thing or the other. We want to do so (establish an embassy there), in terms of trade it’s important,” Mr Mitchell said.
“India is a capital which we believe needs to have a non-resident appointee,” he added.
Despite the Bahamas’ close ties with China, this country does not currently have an ambassador stationed at the Bahamian embassy there – only a charge d’affaires. Former Free National Movement (FNM) Senator Elma Campbell served as the first resident ambassador to China after her appointment in 2008.
Former Cabinet minister in the Pindling administration George Smith said the proposed appointments are important to the country’s image and diplomatic ties. He added that diplomatic posts in Brazil and India, which are emerging economies, will be beneficial to the Bahamas.
“Small countries do it because they want to benefit from the relationship economically or having friends abroad who can stand up for your country.
“The Bahamas is significant, though a small country in population, it’s a significant country, it has the second highest human index in the region and the highest standard of living in this region but for the US and Canada.
“We ought to be out there for the interests of our people because we need friends to vote for the interests if it comes to that.”
According to sources close to the matter, the consideration for the diplomatic posts in China and India have been under discussion for nearly a year.
The Tribune was told that the government would like the prospective Chinese ambassador to be able to secure 1,000 jobs or relationships for Bahamians in China in the areas of hospitality, finance and agriculture.
In March, the government revealed that Sean McWeeney, QC, was appointed as the first non-resident Bahamas ambassador to the Vatican.
Mr McWeeney, an advisor to the prime minister, is also the chairman of the Constitutional Commission.